Lent and Project Compassion
We have just entered the season of Lent. The 40 days of Lent are a time for reflecting on our own journey into the fullness of love to which Jesus calls us. It is a time for a change of heart and direction as we look at our lives in the light of this call, and find ourselves having fallen short of the responsibility to our brothers and sisters in need which this love requires of us. We are asked to fast – to make sacrifices, to give up something of what we cling to and believe we cannot do without, so that our giving may be generous, emerging from our own growing maturity in Christian living, and significantly make a difference in the lives of those who are depending on us. Our growth into a more and more mature Christian life will go hand in hand with the spread of justice in our world. In his message to the youth of the world in January this year, Pope Francis addressed those young people, wherever they are, living in poverty and disadvantage, and he encouraged them not to lose hope. He said: “The Lord has a great dream which, with your help, he wants to come true!” And he said to them that their peers who are better-off “have not forgotten you,” but are working to establish global peace and justice for everyone. All of us here in our Loreto community, the young and the not-so-young, are the ones who are ‘better-off’ that Pope Francis speaks of. And the Pope’s promise to those in need asks something of all of us. How will we respond?
On Ash Wednesday our student Social Justice leaders launched the 2016 Caritas Project Compassion appeal. Each week your daughters will hear stories about the work of Caritas and this year’s focus. I urge all families to talk about this at home, find out more about it by visiting the Caritas Project Compassion website, and to consider how, together, you may participate in our Lenten practice of sacrifice – giving up to give in.
Below is an article written by our Social Justice Captain, Rachel Parsons, about this year’s Project Compassion focus.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Dean of Mission
This year Caritas’ Project Compassion initiative celebrates 50 years, with this year’s focus being ‘Learning More, Creating Change’. This year’s theme celebrates the power of learning and the many ways in which Caritas works with local partners around the world to provide vital learning opportunities and renewed hope to children, men and women most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice. In this way Caritas contributes directly to reducing the gap between affluent and impoverished people, as once trained, individuals can develop their skills and contribute to their villages and communities. In this way our help may be lasting – rather than one-off giving – much like the aims of employment schemes in Australia.
Project Compassion is an integral part of our Lenten observance, as we are called to give without the expectation of return. As Christians and privileged members of society we have an obligation to work for equity within society. Project Compassion is an opportunity we’re afforded each year to contribute to sustainable progress within communities. While Karl Marx suggests that oppression and oppressors will always exist within society, and thus disparity and inequity will always exist, giving generously allows us to contribute to limiting disparities, in order to afford everyone greater opportunities.
Moreover, as Felicity is the Loreto Value we are focussing on this year, being open-hearted and giving altruistically without expectation of return leads to the inner joy that is a sign of those who truly live in Felicity.
Social Justice Captain