Roses bloom for Project Compassion

Year 12 students at Aquinas Catholic College in Menai who participated in Roses for Compassion Day 2019. PHOTOS: Supplied
Year 12 students at Aquinas Catholic College in Menai who participated in Roses for Compassion Day 2019. PHOTOS: Supplied

Year 12 students at Aquinas Catholic College in Menai helped to spread love and good will on Valentine’s Day, selling beautiful red roses in aid of Project Compassion, Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten fund-raiser.

The school has conducted the annual fundraiser for the past 16 years and this year 135 Year 12 students took part. It was one of the first initiatives for Project Compassion in 2019.

Roses for Compassion Day began bright and early at 6.30am as the students sorted, labelled and distributed the roses to members of the school community. Each rose had a card with a message on it. Some students wrote “From your secret admirer” while others simply wrote the person’s name on it. Many students gave a rose to a friend as a symbol of their friendship.

Some of the beautiful roses Year 12 students distributed on Valentine's Day in support of Project Compassion.
Some of the beautiful roses Year 12 students distributed on Valentine’s Day in support of Project Compassion.

Nearly 900 roses were ordered and a total of $500 was raised.

College Captain Charlotte Knoke said, “Year 12 look forward to Roses for Compassion Day every year. We get up bright and early, organise the roses, share breakfast and have a few laughs while taking lots of selfies!”

Co-College Captain, Benjamin Capovilla said, “It is a wonderful community-building morning and it is very comforting knowing that we are helping the less fortunate in our community, both here and abroad.”

Social Justice Coordinator at the school, Mrs Denise Martin, said, “The event helps develop a deepened sense of community, while raising much needed funds for Project Compassion.”

“It was such a fantastic morning! I loved how we came together as a grade and worked really well together,” said Year 12 student, Ariana Vitale D’Amico.

School Captains, Benjamin Capovilla and Charlotte Knoke.
School Captains, Benjamin Capovilla and Charlotte Knoke.

“I loved seeing the reactions on the students’ faces,” said classmate, Natalie Gonzales.

Through Project Compassion, Caritas Australia aims to raise funds and awareness to support those living in poverty in third-world countries.

Caritas Australia is the international aid and development agency of the Catholic Church.

This Lent it is expected that tens of thousands of Australians including school students will take part in the appeal.

Caritas provides resources via their Project Compassion website for schools and parishes who wish to help raise funds. Schools are invited to run a Pancake Tuesday, Fish Friday or Water Challenge to raise funds.

“We encourage everyone to support Project Compassion so that we continue to transform lives, strengthen the resilience of communities and contribute to peace and stability,” said Paul O’Callaghan, CEO of Caritas Australia.

Student Bianca Rice enjoys distributing the roses.
Student Bianca Rice enjoys distributing the roses.

“The Caritas philosophy is to help marginalised communities become the architects of their own future and Project Compassion has enabled us to achieve major change over 54 years.”

The focus of this year’s Lenten appeal will be the global water crisis and how Caritas Australia is responding to that critical situation.

“According to the United Nations, each year, more people die, the majority aged under five, from diseases caused by dirty water than from all forms of violence, including war. A lack of clean water disrupts the education of girls and robs communities of income and food,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

To learn how your school can take part in Project Compassion this Lent go to www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or call 1800 024 413.