Sandpiper: Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

WWW.SANDPIPER.ORG.AU AUGUST 2019 6 By Kerry Stone Sandhurst Caritas/Justice Coordinator C aritas Australia thanks the many thousands of generous supporters, including parishes and schools, right across Australia, who joined in solidarity with the world’s poorest during Project Compassion 2018, raising almost 11 million dollars. Sandhurst Diocese can be extremely proud of its contribution to that total. With an increase of more than 4% over last year, we were just $4000 short of the half-million-dollar mark! Again this year, we had 100% involvement – every parish and every school 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 Thandolwayo in Zimbabwe, Tati in Indonesia, Peter in the Solomon Islands, Michaela fromAboriginal Australia, Salma from Bangladesh and Nguyet from Vietnam. The theme for this year’s Project Compassion, “100% Hope” highlighted the role that we all have to play in the solutions to the challenges facing our communities globally. Caritas Australia’s Head of Engagement and Sustainability, Richard Landels, thanked theAustralian community for its support. “By giving generously during Project Compassion, the people of Australia are showing that when we sow seeds of hope we reap the fruit of love and compassion,” Mr Landels said. “For more than 54 years, Project Compassion has helped change the lives of millions of people. Only the generosity of our supporters makes this possible. With this support, Caritas Australia is able to go wherever the challenges are greatest, giving a voice and hope to the most vulnerable,” Mr Landels said with much gratitude. Last year, Caritas Australia reached over 2 million people directly. To learn more visit: www.caritas. Half a million raised for Project Compassion By Kerry Stone Sandhurst Caritas/Justice Coordinator Across the Catholic world, including in parishes and schools across Australia, we celebrate, on the last Sunday of August, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The 2019 theme is “It’s Not Just About Migrants” as Pope Francis explains in his message, “Violent conflicts and all-out wars continue to tear humanity apart; injustices and discrimination follow one upon the other; economic and social imbalances on a local or global scale prove difficult to overcome. And above all, it is the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged who pay the price. The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a “globalisation of indifference”. In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills. That attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we face if we continue to give in to the throw- away culture. In fact, if it continues, anyone who doesn’t fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social wellbeing is at risk of marginalisation and exclusion. For this reason, the presence of migrants and refugees – and of vulnerable people in general – is an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society. That is why it is not just about migrants. When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well- regarded nowadays. “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mt 14:27). It is not just about migrants:;it is also about our fears. The signs of meanness we see around us heighten “our fear of ‘the other’, the unknown, the marginalised, the foreigner ... We see this today in particular, faced with the arrival of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future … fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord. “For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?” (Mt 5:46). It is not just about migrants; it is about charity … And the highest form of charity is that shown to those unable to pay us back or thank us in return …” Learn more at . 1 COVER AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC MIGRANT & REFUGEE OFFI Migrant & Refugee Week 19th - 25th August 2019 A Publication of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Migrant & Refugee Sunday Thank you Sandhurst! By Fr Rom Hayes Director, Caritas Sandhurst S ix months ago I moved from parish life into retirement. Although it may not be full-time retirement, there is much time now to reflect, read and contemplate. Without any effort I find myself thinking about the past and remembering many blessings. Amongst the many blessings in my life, Caritas Australia looms large. The effective and creative programs implemented by Caritas in many of the poorest countries have brought dignity, education and health to God’s poorest people. The Lenten stories tell just some of those achievements. They are sources of great happiness and satisfaction. However, there is another source of joy and it comes from the extraordinary generosity of people across our diocese. Over the last twenty years or more we have acknowledged that our diocese is second to none when it comes to giving for the poor through Project Compassion. Per capita no other diocese shows such generosity. I often wonder what is the reason for this great compassion and kindness? I suspect that those who give at each Sunday’s Eucharist during Lent have a sense that they are not only in communion with Christ but with the whole Body of Christ. In other words, we recognize that we are truly sisters and brothers with those in the most impoverished countries. We are so lucky to have been blessed with a wonderful and courageous Pope, Pope Francis. He so often reminds us that we are all sisters and brothers and that we are responsible for one another. His ground-breaking encyclical, Laudato Si, asserts that we are not only intimately connected to one another but to all God’s creation and that we are responsible for the wellbeing of Mother Earth, Our Home. It is tragic to see how the degradation of creation is having dreadful effects on our poorest countries. However, it gives us some satisfaction to see that the programs of Caritas Australia always keep in mind the wellbeing of Mother Earth and her poorest inhabitants. As we rejoice in the great efforts of Caritas, let us give special thanks to those who make things happen at a local level. The RECs and teachers of our schools have made Project Compassion an important part of students’ learning. Their promotion of Caritas Ks is a feature in the Lenten calendar. In parishes across the diocese, our Caritas/Justice Parish Reps help to keep the good news always before our communities. Lastly, but certainly not least, our diocese offers Kerry Stone, the Diocesan Coordinator, a huge thanks. Her competence and commitment are exceptional. Blessings and peace to all. SOCIAL JUSTICE