It was also a chance for more than 130 students from 13 schools to gain an understanding of how their fundraising efforts for Catholic Charities, through the Me4U campaign, have helped some of the most disadvantaged people in the community.
Celebrating the Thanksgiving Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Archbishop Patrick O’Regan welcomed representatives of the agencies supported by Catholic Charities – Centacare Catholic Family Services, Hutt St Centre, Our Lady of La Vang and St Patrick’s special schools, and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry.
Archbishop O’Regan emphasised the importance of being present for those in need and standing together to make a difference.
He also thanked Catholic Charities manager Annie O’Neill, who is moving interstate, for her commitment and dedication to raising much-needed funds over the past 11 years.
For the first time since its inception in 2013, the Thanksgiving Mass was held in September, which is Catholic Charities month. Previously it was held at the end of the year to thank donors but with an increasing focus on school fundraising, it was brought forward to make it easier for students to attend.
Schools participating this year included St Catherine’s Stirling, Dominican School Semaphore, Christian Brothers College, St Mary’s Memorial School Glenelg, St John Bosco School Brooklyn Park, St John the Apostle School Christie’s Beach, Emmaus School Woodcroft, Antonio Catholic School Morphett Vale, Holy Family Catholic School Parafield Gardens, and St Aloysius College Adelaide. Making the trip all the way from Port Pirie were students from St Mark’s College.
Students and staff from Our Lady of La Vang and St Patrick’s special schools also enriched the celebration with their presence.
After Mass a Charities Expo was held in the Cathedral Hall. This was an opportunity for students and supporters to hear firsthand from some of the agencies that Catholic Charities assists.
Jacinta Munro from Hutt St Centre outlined the centre’s services for homeless people and answered lots of questions from students.
Centacare Catholic Family Services director Leanne Haddad and other Centacare staff spoke about their programs and services.