Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent in our Catholic tradition. It is the beginning of a 40-day journey to Easter. At each of our three campuses we gathered in liturgy to recognise the beginning of Lent, the significance of Ash Wednesday and the launch of Project Compassion. The ashes symbolise that as human beings we are all created from dust, and to dust we shall return. The cross placed on our forehead is a powerful symbol for each person to focus on what is good in our lives and to be committed to our Christian values. In this time of COVID a cross from the ashes was placed on everyone’s forehead or hand using an individual cotton bud – indeed we are adapting well to these new challenges!
Lent therefore is a special time of challenge to break down the barriers which prevent us from being fully Christian. Today at the Faulkner House Mass, Fr Dev our school Chaplain challenged us to follow five principles during Lent. They include, exercise self-control, do not lose your temper and use abusive language, be kind to each other, be forgiving to others, do not have negative thoughts – some great practical goals for Lent. Traditionally the journey of Lent includes a period of fasting or giving up something we take for granted for us to experience a process of change, gratitude, and sacrifice. It is an opportunity to say no and some of us might give up something special such as chocolate, coffee, sweets or other luxuries which we have come to take for granted. No, you cannot give up on exercise or doing chores such as gardening or washing the dishes.
Project Compassion is part of Caritas Australia, an arm of the Catholic Church which raises funds to support projects across the world in the most improvised areas. The theme for this year is “Be More”. It is a call to end poverty and injustice across the world. Caritas has many amazing projects including;
- a mission in Bangladesh in the world’s largest refugee camp to support families with health and hygiene to improve their quality of daily life
- supporting a school in the Solomon Islands, which has been devastated by drought and a cyclone, to provide for food security and fresh water
- supporting a community in Tanzania to assist with a makeshift school where adults can learn basic literacy and numeracy to assist with their work opportunities
- work in Indonesia to support a small remote community with basic hygiene and toilet facilities that improves community health.
These are but a few examples of the great work of Caritas and during Lent we support Project Compassion. You can support Caritas here: https://lent.caritas.org.au/donate. Be More and make a difference.
Image credit: Caritas Australia