Hunter community invited to the launch of Project Compassion on Shrove Tuesday (1)

School students and representatives from 55 schools in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will join Bishop Bill Wright at St John the Baptist Primary School, Maitland next Tuesday for the launch of Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten appeal, Project Compassion.


Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through to Easter, the Project Compassion Appeal this year aims to raise more than $11 million nationally during the 6 weeks of Lent. Project Compassion also aims to educate local communities by providing an enhanced appreciation and awareness of the interrelationship of all peoples and what can be accomplished when people work together in partnership.


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 2013, “Open doors into the future”.


“The theme this year is taken from Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi, 35,” Mrs Banister said. “The Holy Father said, ‘We work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future’ and this is a personal challenge for each of us during Lent.”


“By partnering together, anything becomes possible resulting in real and lasting change. I challenge our local community, diocese and schools to work together to raise awareness and see if we can top last year’s local fundraising effort of $201,811 to help create change,” she said.


Last year the Project Compassion Appeal raised $10.7 million in schools and parishes and by individuals around Australia with 92% of all funds going directly to development projects around the world.


Caritas’ mandate includes integral development, emergency relief, advocacy, peace building, respect for human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources.


The CEO of Caritas Australia, Jack de Groot, said Project Compassion helps to focus attention on the way Caritas has been able to transform lives across the globe – people’s donations, no matter how big or small, make an ongoing difference to the lives of so many. “The support of the Australian community enables marginalised and vulnerable people across the globe to live in dignity, grow in solidarity, experience justice, steer their own development, and contribute to changing the context of their community so the doors of opportunity continue to open,” Mr de Groot said.


Caritas Australia is the ‘social justice arm’ of the Catholic Church. Its foundation is based on Catholic Social Teaching, which focuses on the dignity of the human person. Caritas Australia is the Catholic agency for international aid and development in Australia. Together with 162 other network partners in over 200 countries and territories around the world, Caritas Internationalis is one of the largest international humanitarian networks working with people regardless of their religion, race, gender or ethnicity.



WHEN: 11am, Tuesday 12th February 2013

WHERE: St John the Baptist Primary School – 12 Victoria Street, Maitland.

WHO IS ATTENDING: Bishop Bill Wright, Vice-Chancellor of Pastoral Ministries, Teresa Brierley, Director of Schools, Ray Collins and school leaders, principals and teachers representing 55 schools from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.


MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For more information, interviews, photo opportunities and for all other media enquiries regarding the launch of Project Compassion (including photos of pancake fundraising initiatives on Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday liturgies on 13 Feb), please contact Communications Manager, Emma Blackford, on (02) 4979 1183 or 0419 263 901.