The three days from August 7-9 was the flagship event of the Be More Challenge.
Inspired by Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero’s call “not to have more, but to be more”, the Be More challenge asked people to create an online profile and take action for social and environmental justice by setting themselves five challenges – at personal, family, local, national and global levels.
Caritas Australia chief executive officer Jack de Groot said the Be More weekend was an opportunity for communities to come together to creatively live out this year’s theme, “be just, be green, be more”.
“It is a ‘weekend away’ not from a place but from the business-as-usual approach. It is a time to reflect what things would be like if we lived in solidarity with the poor, if we were true stewards of creation and if we always attempted to be more in our daily lives,” Mr de Groot said.
In Queensland, the weekend was launched during a Mary MacKillop Day celebration involving five Brisbane northside Catholic schools at Kalinga Park on August 7.
Caritas Australia campaigns co-ordinator Margareta Brosnan said that because “Be More” was an online program the Mary MacKillop Day was a great public venue to launch the weekend.
Ms Brosnan said participants and activities were diverse.
“They include individuals, families, schools, parishes, individual streets where the entire street is participating, so it’s very exciting,” she said.
“Quite a number of schools had chosen to turn off their electricity for the day and they are going to do activities to remind themselves about the environment that they live in and also the global impact of that environment.
“Families are having things like a car-free weekend. Others have organised a reality meal together where they bring all their family together and divide food up how it is divided up globally and (they’re going to) talk about that.
“Other people are doing youth camps in their parishes.”
The Caritas Be More campaign is to become an annual event and Mr de Groot said that while the primary tool for the challenge was the social action networking website, the Be More Weekend ensured that people did not have to be on the web to be part of the initiative.