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SA Premier backs Project Compassion


Back on his former school grounds this morning, South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed how Catholic social teachings as a student have provided inspiration in his life and work to help those in need.

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Attending Mercedes College for the school launch of Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion Lenten appeal, Mr Malinauskas spoke of how Australians prided themselves on “looking after others more than we just look after ourselves”.

“And that is what is at the heart of our mission as Christians, as Catholics,” he told the gathering, which included students from seven schools throughout the Adelaide Archdiocese.

“I didn’t really appreciate this at the time going through Mercedes College – learning about the Mercy Keys day in, day out, singing the songs, being told about these principles…I didn’t really appreciate that what I was being taught about was a set of values that actually gives us the ability to be better human beings.

“To be able to make a contribution to our society that far outlasts any gratification we might get from a material benefit, it speaks to the way we think about others.”

Recalling how he used to muck around and play countless hours of handball where the launch was held, Mr Malinauskas paid tribute to the Project Compassion appeal and the “iconic little cartons” which have been a mainstay over its 60-year history.

“Not everyone around the world gets the opportunities that we get here in this beautiful country that we call home…Project Compassion gives us the opportunity to take all the fortune we have as Australians and South Australians and hopefully spread a little bit overseas.”

Other special guests at the launch included Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, Caritas Australia national chairman Robert Fitzgerald and Catholic Education SA director Neil McGoran.

In his homily, Archbishop O’Regan said Project Compassion provided a “focus beyond ourselves” and urged the faithful to extend this focus past the six weeks of Lent.

“Wouldn’t it be good if this little over 10 per cent of the year made it into the 90 per cent of the year as well. If those attitudes of focus, of making sure there is room in our heart for God, for others, our best self, the whole of creation, actually became the way we lived our life…it would actually transform the world.”

The theme for Project Compassion this year is ‘For All Future Generations’ and Mr Fitzgerald said the appeal provided an invitation to “listen, to make a difference, to say yes”.

“It is an invitation firstly to be aware of and reflect on the needs and disadvantages of communities we serve throughout the world,” he said.

“Secondly, it is an invitation to say yes…that I want to be involved in something that matters. It’s an invitation to say yes to something greater than ourselves, an invitation to have effect not only on people doing it tough today but also future generations.”

Schools represented at the launch were Mercedes College, Mary MacKillop College, Blackfriars Priory School, Star of the Sea School, Sacred Heart College, St Martin de Porres School and School of the Nativity.

During the proceedings Archbishop O’Regan blessed the Project Compassion materials and candles, with the ‘travelling candle’ being presented to Nativity, which will host the 2024 launch.

For more information about Project Compassion go to


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