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Catholics give during cost-of-living crisis

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Chanthea Nou at Mary Immaculate Bossley Park with Fr Danai. Photo: Caritas-Australia
Chanthea Nou at Mary Immaculate Bossley Park with Fr Danai. Photo: Caritas-Australia

Over half a million people have been helped by Jesuit Mission Australia in the last year, receiving access to healthcare, clean water and education.

The charity’s recently published Gratitude Report 2023 comes just after Lent and revealed the charity raised over $7 million in the past 12 months.

The funds will go towards helping vulnerable communities such as those in Myanmar, Ukraine, Syria and South Sudan.

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“Last year, 25,000 individuals in remote communities gained access to vital healthcare, 23,000 people received clean water facilities and over 25,000 refugees received much needed education, livelihood training, psychosocial support and housing assistance,” said Helen Forde, CEO of Jesuit Mission.

“This extraordinary outpouring of love—including the compassionate efforts of all our supporters, parishes, committees, schools and volunteers—has enabled our local Jesuit partners in 14 countries to reach more than 550,000 people through 63 life-changing projects.”

Caritas Australia is likewise hoping their recent efforts through the Project Compassion Lenten Appeal will be as strong as in 2023.

The charity recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, and revealed the Project Compassion campaign raised $9.5 million last year.

“It does look very strong [for 2024],” said mission facilitator at Caritas, Michael McGirr.

So far 168 schools and 130 parishes in Sydney have returned the iconic Lenten appeal boxes to Caritas, which McGirr told The Catholic Weekly is a great way to fulfill the call of almsgiving.

“It’s not just about fundraising, but the spirituality that makes the fundraising happen. Lent is great because what Project Compassion does is support the spiritualty of it.

“This year, we have projects in the Pacific, where climate change is making such a big impact to people’s livelihoods and wellbeing.

“We’re also responding to emergencies in Myanmar, the Middle East (including Syria), and other places.”

Michael is moved that people continue to give in some way or other, no matter how little, during a cost-of-living crisis in Sydney.

“At one parish a single mother with her child came up to me and explained that one of her ways of saving money was to opt for the $1 coffee at 7Eleven,” he said.

“But then she gave me $5 and said, ‘I am giving up my coffee for a week for the people who need help.’

“That to me is deeply Christian. The cost of living is horrendous, and yet people still give. I think that’s sheer grace and recognition that to struggle in Sydney is different from struggling in Malawi.”

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