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Project Compassion makes a difference


The annual Lenten giving program, Project Compassion, was launched in Adelaide on Shrove Tuesday, 60 years after the first campaign was started in Adelaide by a group of parishioners wanting to raise money for a boat for the Bathurst Island community.

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In a prayer service at the Church of the Nativity, Aberfoyle Park, Archbishop Patrick O’Regan said in 1964 people in Adelaide “had a dream” to make a difference and since then Project Compassion had been “embedded deep in our understanding of what we do in Lent and what it does for us”.

“What it says to us is that each and every one of us can make a difference,” he told students and staff from six Catholic schools in the southern region.

“Sometimes we feel like giving up, with 8 billion people in the world we think what can we do?

“But actually we can do a lot…if we create a space in our heart for others, that makes a difference. Already we are being changed without even knowing it. Lent reminds us that God is here to help us do that…that’s the great news, we don’t have to do this alone.”

Archbishop O’Regan challenged the young people to have “another dream” so that in 60 years’ time people would talk about how someone had a “brainwave to make a difference”.

Archbishop O’Regan with students from St Bernadette’s School

Representatives of each school – Nativity, Stella Maris, St Anthony’s, Cabra Dominican College, St Bernadette’s and Cardijn College – brought a framed photo to the altar to highlight the ecological action they were taking at their school in line with Caritas Earthcare and the Pope’s Laudato Si’ encyclical.

Students wrote and read prayers of intercession and received candles to take back to their school as a sign of Christ’s light that would help them on their Project Compassion journey.

Guest speaker Nathan Leber, Caritas Community Engagement representative (WA & SA), presented the Caritas ‘travelling candle’ to St Bernadette’s School, which will host next year’s Project Compassion launch.

St Bernadette’s has played a significant role in the Caritas story as it was families from their school and parish who founded what is now known as Project Compassion.

To celebrate Shrove Tuesday, students and staff enjoyed pancakes at morning tea prepared by Aberfoyle Park and Blackwood parishioners.

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