Caritas celebrates 50 years in Australia with Social Justice Market Day

St Mary’s Gateshead celebrated the 50 year anniversary of Caritas in Australia on 16 September with a Justice in the Marketplace workshop.

Caritas celebrates 50 years in Australia with Social Justice Market Day

Student leaders from seven Catholic schools participated in games, a liturgy, and activities highlighting social justice issues.


The focus of the day was learning about six Catholic Social Justice teachings: The Common Good, Dignity of the Human Person, Preferential Option for the Poor, Solidarity, Stewardship of Creation, and Subsidiarity and Participation. Students were encouraged to collect information and ideas to share with their peers from eight social justice agencies: Penola House, Mum’s Cottage, Mercy Services, St Vincent de Paul, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, ACTiv8 Youth, Caritas and House of Hospitality.


Students visited stalls representing local social justice agencies, gathering insights into what it means to be a part of those organisations. Caritas Regional Engagement Coordinator, Belinda Carson-Bourke, emphasised the importance of a constructive outlook when tackling social justice issues. She said, “Start with a glass half-full mentality and build on what you already have, starting the process off in a positive way.”


Year 11 student Harrison Hughes of St Paul’s, Booragul, felt motivated by Penola House representative Sr Di Santleben OP to get involved immediately by volunteering or helping with fundraising activities. Another St Paul’s student, Jessie Ryder, said, “It was incredible to hear the stories from a refugee supported by Penola House and her experience, not just as a refugee, but within our Newcastle community.”


There are many opportunities to support social justice initiatives in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. If you would like to learn more about getting involved with Caritas Australia, please visit


Pictured: Bishop Bill Wright and Caritas Australia’s Pat Banister cutting the Caritas 50 year anniversary cake at St Mary’s High School Gateshead. Article courtesy of Brooke Robinson, photos courtesy of Geraldine Williams.


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