Bishop Bill Wright will launch Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten appeal, Project Compassion at St Mary’s High School, Gateshead on Tuesday 4 March in the presence of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s extended diocesan community.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through to Easter, the Project Compassion Appeal this year aims to raise $12 million nationally during the 6 weeks of Lent.
Bishop Bill will be joined by three very special guests at this year’s launch – Western Desert Nganampa Walytia Palyanjaky Tjuataku (WDNWPT) Aboriginal Corporation’s Chairperson, CEO and Project Officer, Marlene Spencer Nampitjinpa, Sarah Brown and Deanne Wano. WDNWPT was established in response to concern over the number of people being forced to move from traditional country, family and community to seek dialysis treatment in Alice Springs. The organisation’s name loosely translates to “making all families well” and today the WDNWPT provides alternative dialysis facilities in five communities and dialysis and social support in Alice Springs. Caritas Australia is supporting the work of the WDNWPT.
Diocesan Caritas Team Member and Ministry Coordinator at St Mary’s, Louise Roach, said the Project Compassion launch would be a memorable event that will only be enhanced by the presence of the three women of WDNWPT.
“The launch will commence with a traditional fire and water blessing, a welcome to our special guests from school principal, Larry Keating, a liturgy that involves the St Mary’s students and a reflection from Bishop Bill Wright. Most importantly we will hear from Marlene, Sarah and Deanne who will speak about their work in indigenous communities and how Caritas is helping them,” Mrs Roach said.
Diocesan Caritas Team member, Patricia Banister, is encouraging the Hunter community to come along to the launch to learn more about the Project Compassion theme for 2014, “Have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
“This year’s theme embodies the work of Caritas Australia,” Mrs Banister said. “All people on earth wish for a life filled with certainty; a life free from the burden of poverty, with equal access to food, water, education, healthcare and shelter; a life of dignity and peace.”
“By partnering together, anything becomes possible, resulting in real and lasting change. I challenge our local community, diocese, parishes and schools to work together to raise awareness and see if we can top last year’s local fundraising effort of $224,160 to help more people ‘have life and have it to the full’,” she said.
Pope Francis recently echoed these words when he said, “Men and women of all times and all places desire a full and beautiful life...a life that is not threatened by death but that can mature and grow to its fullness.”
Last year the Project Compassion Appeal raised over $11 million in schools and parishes and by individuals around Australia, with 92% of all funds going directly to development projects around the world. Further details of the work of Caritas Australia, celebrating 50 years of international aid and development in 2014, can be found in its annual report.
The women of the Western Desert will also speak at a Project Compassion Dinner the same evening, Tuesday 4 March, at the Victor Peters Suite, 843 Hunter Street, Newcastle West, 5.30 for 6.00pm. Local country music star Catherine Britt will entertain the guests at this dinner. This is a wonderful opportunity for those people who can’t make it to the launch during the day to hear about the WDNWPT’s Purple House in Alice Springs and how it is helping people like Lorraine, whose story is featured in this year’s Project Compassion campaign. Other featured stories focus on people from Brazil, South Sudan, The Philippines, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka.
LAUNCH OF PROJECT COMPASSION (including Shrove Tuesday pancake photo opportunity)
WHEN: 11am, Tuesday 4 March 2014
WHERE: St Mary’s High School, Roger Kennedy Centre – Pacific Highway, Gateshead.
WHO IS ATTENDING: Bishop Bill Wright, diocesan clergy and parishioners, religious congregation representatives, Vice-Chancellor of Pastoral Ministries and Caritas Team member, Teresa Brierley, Director of Schools, Ray Collins, CatholicCare Social Services representatives, Diocesan Caritas Team members, Patricia Banister and Louise Roach and Western Desert Nganampa Walytia Palyanjaky Tjuataku (WDNWPT) Aboriginal Corporation’s Chairperson, CEO and Project Officer, Marlene Spencer Nampitjinpa, Sarah Brown and Deanne Wano. School leaders, principals and teachers representing 55 schools from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will also be in attendance.
PROJECT COMPASSION SPEAKER TOUR DINNER
WHEN: 5.30 FOR 6.00pm, Tuesday 4 March 2014
WHERE: Victor Peters Suite, 843 Hunter Street, Newcastle West.
WHO: Western Desert Nganampa Walytia Palyanjaky Tjuataku (WDNWPT) Aboriginal Corporation’s Chairperson, CEO and Project Officer, Marlene Spencer Nampitjinpa, Sarah Brown and Deanne Wano will be guest speakers at this dinner. Local country music star Catherine Britt will entertain the guests at this dinner.
ASH WEDNESDAY LITURGY PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
WHEN: Wednesday 5 March 2014
WHO: Ash Wednesday liturgies will be held at diocesan Catholic schools (call Kate Bennett for further details).
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For more information please contact Communications Manager, Kate Bennett, on (02) 4979 1183 or 0419 263 901.