Since first being prepared in 1961 for mission to Papua New Guinea, Catholic participants from all over Australia and New Zealand have been placed in 40 countries, assisting the development of 408 communities globally.
“Reaching Beyond our own small world is so important to the mutual development of communities here and abroad,” executive director Roger O’Halloran said.
“Australians who respond to the call to share their skills, to mentor those with little other opportunity, get to immerse themselves in resilient communities and learn from their wisdom.
“Palms prepares and supports Australians undertaking this adventurous mission to be conduits that encourage communities here and there to discern together, so that we can develop and grow sustainably together.”
The mission begins with a request from an overseas community who identify developments that will foster and build on the strengths of their people.
Looking to develop health, education, technical trade and administrative skills they ask Palms to find appropriately qualified and experienced Australians who might volunteer to assist.
Mr O’Halloran stressed that despite perhaps being well-meaning the paternal or patronising approaches of old stifled an energising exploration of mutual growth.
“While we have an obligation to share with those who life with less we have at least as much to learn,” he said.
“More Australians responding again to the many requests from catholic communities abroad allows us to rediscover alternatives to the ‘western’ development model that has taken us down a path of unsustainable resource depletion and damaging climate change.”
Bridget Kennelly from Kapunda in South Australia has shared this experience of her assignment.
Archbishop Patrick O’Regan recently advised parishes, schools and communities that the Archdiocese would support the preparation costs of participants at Palms’ Orientation Course and a re-entry weekend on their return from mission placement. He said Catholic Bishops support a Lay Missionary Gratuity Fund that provides a payment of $2,500 for each year a participant is on this mission.
The webinar will be held on Monday August 1 at 7pm. Participants will meet with Palms partner organisations abroad and the program participants recently dispatched to their communities.
Register here to find out how you, or others you invite, can become part of the Palms Australia story.