Doing good “with love, justice and solidarity are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day” and require patience, prayer and hope. – Pope Francis, Lenten Message March 2022
In a world faced with a pandemic, atrocities of war and poverty, it would be so easy to think ‘what can I do to make a difference’ and give up hope. The Lenten season calls us to place our faith and hope in the Lord, since only if we fix our gaze on the risen Christ will we be able to respond to the Apostle’s appeal, “
Let us never grow tired of doing good”. Through his Lenten Message, Pope Francis is inviting us to be the fertile soil that creates the conditions for the seeds to grow and to create something different from the present.
Faced with the challenges of a global pandemic which has arrived at our doorstep, it would be easy to be consumed by our needs and those we love but our challenge during this time is to look beyond ourselves to our community. We can not turn our back and believe that someone else will take care of things. Each one of us can do something.
Lent is an opportune time to cultivate healthy communication and, where possible, face-to-face encounters. Although our COVID restrictions may mean we have to think creatively, now is a time to seek out rather than avoid those in need. It may be providing a sympathetic ear and a positive word to someone who is struggling with life. A visit, real or virtual, with someone who is lonely and doesn’t have the support of family and friends. Our actions could be as simple as following the COVID restrictions to ensure that we are doing our part to keep the vulnerable in our community as safe as possible.
Keeping the people of Ukraine safe may seem out of our possibility but anything is possible through prayer. Prayer is a key part of our faith and especially during Lent, we are called to reflect and pray for all who need our prayers. This week Archbishop Costello wrote to all within the Archdiocese to pray for the people of the Ukraine, so I share with you his words and prayer:
Conscious of the teaching of Saint Paul “to pray without ceasing” (1Thess 5:17) and of the words of Jesus himself instructing us to “ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you” (Matt 7:7) I am writing now to ask you to continue …to pray for peace in Ukraine, and for all those in that country, and beyond, who in so many different ways are enduring great suffering at this time.
I would encourage all within our community to pray for the people of the Ukraine. The Archbishop’s prayer for Ukraine can be found here.
The people of Ukraine can also be supported through almsgiving – another element of Lent. Caritas Australia is working behind the scenes to help the people of the Ukraine. Caritas Australia is the international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church in Australia and is part of one of the largest aid and development networks in the world – Caritas Internationalis – working in over 200 countries and territories.
Each year, Project Compassion runs during the six weeks of the Church season of Lent. We are asked to join them in building a more just and fairer world: a world in balance, at peace and free of poverty.
The theme of Project Compassion 2022 is ‘For All Future Generations’. It is an expression of hope and reminds us that the good that we do today will extend and impact the lives of generations to come. It invites us to make the world a better place by working together now and finding long term solutions to global issues.
I encourage students and families to discover the power of giving and the impact that their contribution, however big or small, would have in the lives of others. When we lend a hand to someone in need, they will go on to help others and make better opportunities for future generations.
Compassion is contagious and creates a ripple effect of kindness and prosperity. During Lent I encourage students and families to be the pebble that enables Caritas Australia to create the ripples that will improve the livelihoods of vulnerable communities, supporting them to flourish and create opportunities for future generations to live to their full potential and thrive.
Communities break down without this kind of loving concern and action and if everyone were to contribute, creating a network of love, acceptance and mutual integration, then we will discover a more human world will be possible.
In conclusion, I borrow the words of Pope Francis as we work together to build a community of hope and love this Lent in what is a challenging time for all within our community and world. Please stay safe.
Giovanna Fiume | Principal