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Common goal to stamp out poverty


It might not be a sockball that she is kicking around on the pitch, but professional soccer player Sarah Willacy knows how important the world game is to people from all backgrounds, rich and poor.

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That is why she has teamed up with Catholic Mission to be an ambassador for its soccer-themed school engagement program, Socktober.

Launched in Adelaide by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan last month, Socktober aims to raise awareness – and much needed funds – for those supported by Catholic Mission. As the Australian agency of the Pontifical Mission Society, Catholic Mission contributes funding and provides project support to critical Church-run initiatives in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America as well as remote dioceses within Australia.

During October, students will make a sockball like those found on playgrounds across Africa – using old socks, T-shirts, bubble wrap and a plastic shopping bag – and participate in tournaments at their school.

Sarah, a Mary MacKillop College old scholar who is currently a goalkeeper with Western Sydney Wanderers in the W League, said while kicking a sockball was a fun activity, more importantly it provided a reminder to students that many around the world cannot afford to buy a ‘proper’ soccer ball.

“The soccer elements of the Socktober program offer a lot of fun for students, but it is the tangible lessons about the importance of serving those less fortunate that will stay with them through their life,” she said.

“Social justice issues were always a part of my education at Mary MacKillop and I feel really privileged that through my involvement with soccer I can now help promote the important work of Catholic Mission.”

Archbishop O’Regan also commended the program, describing it as a way for students to be connected with sport and a common goal to engage in mission through their actions and lives.

“The campaign is a wonderful way to educate and encourage support for mission projects around the world,” he said.

Diocesan director for Catholic Mission in Adelaide, Tony Johnston, said schools were now able to register for this year’s event.

“Schools can begin working through the comprehensive Mission Packs we provide to them and choose the journey that best suits them,” he said.

“Most will engage in the Mission journey from late in Term 3 through World Mission Month in October.

“Last year Socktober had to be modified due to COVID, but I know schools are eager to once again build on the compassionate and generous response they have shown in past years.”

Schools wanting to register for Socktober should contact Tony Johnston on 8210 8199 or For more information about World Mission Month go to


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