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August 2017


Diocese helps raise $11m

A letter of thanks to Sandhurst from Fr Rom


ear Parishioners

In our diocese of

Sandhurst, a “support

group” refers to a group of

about six priests who take a

couple of days off every two

months to go away and reflect

on life as a pastoral priest.

It is a time to talk about

the ups and downs of life in

the diocese and further afield.

There have been many woes

in recent times, but the group

I belong to recently said that

we would look at some of those

things that give us hope and

cause to celebrate.

It comes as no surprise that

the people of our parishes are

our greatest source of life and

admiration. In recent times

the faith of our parishion-

ers has been sorely tested,

but has shown extraordinary

resilience. A very obvious and

important expression of that

faith has been Christian gen-

erosity towards the poorest of

God’s people.

And so it is that I find

myself once again wanting

to say thanks to the people of

our parishes and schools for

their magnificent outreach to

the poor through the works of

Caritas Australia.

I feel pretty sure that

the most generous people

across Australia are the faith-

filled people of the Catholic

Church. The results of Project

Compassion in our diocese

would support that claim.

For the sixth year now,

Caritas Australia’s Project

Compassion has topped half a

million dollars in Sandhurst.

This year’s total of $532,844,

an increase of 6% over last

year, creates a new record.

The figures are against

all the odds and can best be

explained by a deep Christian

faith that seeks to be true to the

command of Jesus.

Generally, people of our

parishes don’t enjoy the lux-

ury of going away in “support

groups” to talk about the ups

and downs of our Church.

However, we can take a

moment to reflect on the good-

ness of our parishioners.

May we together give

thanks to God that the faith of

our people expresses itself so

clearly and generously through

Project Compassion.

There are a number of peo-

ple who give much of their

time and energy to make

Project Compassion very suc-

cessful. A big thanks goes to

all the Priests and Parish Reps,

and also to School Principals

and RE Co-ordinators.

The final thanks goes to

Kerry Stone, Caritas Diocesan

Co-ordinator, who works tire-

lessly across the diocese with

competence, dedication and


May all diocesan contribu-

tors to Caritas Australia be

richly blessed.

Rom Hayes

Diocesan Director

Caritas Australia

Wangaratta Social Justice team hosted a Caritas Kitchen event with Lenten Visitor, Richard Campbell, as speaker.

By Kerry Stone

Sandhurst Diocesan Co-ordinator

Caritas/Justice Office


aritas Australia thanks the

many thousands of gener-

ous supporters, including

parishes and schools, right across

Australia, who joined in solidar-

ity with the world’s poorest during

Project Compassion 2017, raising

$11 million.

Sandhurst Diocese can be very proud

of reaching a new record of $532,844.17.

The theme for this year’s Project

Compassion, “Love Your Neighbour”,

echoed the call of Jesus asking us to

acknowledge in our lives that we are all

members of the one human family.

All our schools and parishes across

the Diocese participated in Project

Compassion, some in very significant

ways, finding new ways of raising

awareness and telling the stories of

transformation in the lives of Dinia in

The Philippines, Martina in East Timor,

Richard, an Aboriginal Australian,

Nguyet in Vietnam, Semiti in Fiji and

Aloma in The Philippines. Each of these

stories revealed some of the ways lives

can be transformed when we follow

Jesus’ instruction to “Love your neigh-

bour as yourself” (Matt. 22:39).

FOR a long time polar bears were

the symbol of climate change but

now it is an image of our fellow

human beings, millions of them,

battling on the frontlines for sur-

vival, writes Caritas Australia's

Paul O’Callaghan.

While we in the west debate the

merits of climate science, in large

parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific

Islands climate change is a daily


Many of these communities rely

on fishing and farming for their sub-

sistence — but unpredictable weather

and extreme weather events are

wreaking havoc.

This is especially true of East

Africa where I have just returned

from visiting communities on the

brink of famine.

Over 20 million people through-

out the region are facing what the

UN has characterised as the greatest

humanitarian crisis since World War

II. Everything I saw confirmed this


Widespread malnutrition and, in

many cases, starvation, are sweeping

through Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria,

Kenya, South Sudan, Malawi and


The crisis is being fuelled by con-

flict in certain areas, while rising food

prices and a large scale drought are

affecting the region as a whole.

In 2016, East Africa was hit by a

super charged El Niño — a warming

of temperatures on the surface of the

Pacific Ocean.

While dry spells are not uncom-

mon for the region, abnormally high

temperatures have intensified both

the severity and the length of the


For farming and pastoralist

communities the effects have been


With over 30 years of involvement

in global affairs, I have never seen

anything on this scale. Millions of

men, women and children are, liter-

ally, desperate for food and water.

Released just last month, the

Disaster Alley

report warns that, if

left unchecked, global warming will

cause increasingly regular and severe

humanitarian crises not unlike the

one taking hold in East Africa.

Images of droughts, famines, and

mass migration are what we must now

conjure up when thinking about cli-

mate change.

The world's poor are bearing the

brunt of global warming yet they

have done the least to cause it. You

can support Caritas East Africa

Appeal online at

africa or phone 1800 024 413 or post

to Caritas/Justice Office PO Box 130

Numurkah 3636.

Climate change a daily reality in Africa

Women in Kenya celebrate the installation of a solar panel (Caritas/Annie Bungeroth).