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Brisbane celebrates Caritas Australia turning 50

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Fantastic 50: Enjoying a slice of Caritas’ anniversary cake are (from left) Margherita Gregory, Ursuline Sister Gabriel Williams and past Caritas diocesan director Patricia Ryan.

PHOTOS, news clippings and Project Compassion boxes from long-forgotten fundraising campaigns on display in Brisbane have told the story of Caritas Australia’s 50 years supporting vulnerable communities.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and the archdiocese’s former Caritas chairman Bishop John Gerry concelebrated an anniversary Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral on Sunday, September 21, as part of the celebrations.

Archbishop Coleridge in his homily explored the definition of the Latin word “caritas”, “best translated as self-sacrificing love”.

“Caritas then is a proclamation at Easter but done in the most human and down-to-earth way, reaching out into areas of human need,” he said.

“Yet through 50 years, in the most concrete, down-to-earth and human way, Caritas has witnessed to the power of that love and its triumph in the moment of Easter.

“Once again if it’s just our work, our poor human affairs with their clapped-out logic, then we would not be here celebrating 50 years.”

Caritas diocesan director Joe Foley said the Mass and social events had provided a “wonderful opportunity” to pay tribute to the many who had volunteered their services over the years.

“We had two past diocesan directors – David Langbridge and Patricia Ryan here – as well,” he said.

“And of course Bishop Gerry has had a long association with the agency going back to when it was known as Australian Catholic Relief.

“He was chairman from 1976 to 1987.

“For many others it was also a chance to catch up with past associates.

“In all it was a great chance to share the story of the Caritas journey both in Brisbane archdiocese and in its work abroad.”

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