WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Caritas Lenten appeal 2016

February 2016

Feature

Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 10 February 2016, and lasts for six weeks until Easter.

Caritas works with communities both here in New Zealand and around the world to reduce poverty and injustice. To enable us to continue working for a world free of poverty and injustice we are asking for your support and generous donations during our annual Lent appeal.

The Lent 2016 Appeal theme is ‘Hear the cry of the earth and the poor’. It is taken from Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, which calls on us to protect the planet and its people.

The Lent Appeal is run by Caritas on behalf of New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops to work with the poor and vulnerable for a world free of poverty and injustice.

Lent in schools

The Caritas Challenge (1 April – 15 May 2016) is a 24-hour event that allows children and youth to walk in solidarity alongside those who are struggling with poverty  and injustice.

This year, the focus is on Cambodia, where we are helping indigenous people improve and adapt their farming techniques to a changing climate, and helping to prevent illegal logging and land-grabbing of
these communities’ land

In 2016 our schools’ Lent resources are focussed on our work in Cambodia assisting some of  the poorest and most marginalised communities – particularly indigenous people who are subsistence farmers.

Lenten Reflections

Lent provides an opportunity each year to deepen our understanding of our faith by reflecting on the Gospels. For many years Caritas has provided a study or reflection programme to support education and formation for parishes and families.

The Caritas Lenten reflection programme includes prayers, Gospel readings, reflections, and discussion materials with a focus on helping us live the Gospels.

The programme is available in English, Māori, Samoan, Tongan and Tokelauan. Two English booklets are supplied free of charge to each parish and can be copied for parish use. Additional booklets are available from the Caritas office for $2 each. Please call us on 0800 22 10 22 or you can download it from our website.

E te Atua, God, as we begin our Lenten journey we pray in solidarity with those in desert places, people who survive despite the conflict that surrounds them. We ask for an awakening of mercy and for lasting peace that will provide security to people in need. Amen.

How your Lent donations make a difference

Thank you to all those who supported our important work in 2015 by donating to the Lent Appeal. Your generosity enables us to continue working for justice globally and locally:

Darfur: In Darfur, more than 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes since 2003 as a result of internal conflict. Caritas continues to work with partners on the ground to provide basic needs in the form of water, health, shelter and nutrition for 500,000 people per year that live in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.

Many families have lived in the camps for more than 10 years, so our programme is now looking to strengthen community resilience through developing livelihoods and providing healthcare, education and stable access to food.

Pacific Environmental Advocacy: Dioceses, parishes, schools and communities are being inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, calling for us all to work together to protect our common home.

Around the Pacific, many people are experiencing the impacts of environmental changes, including increasingly severe weather emergencies – such as Cyclone Pam experienced by Vanuatu in 2015; shortages of food and fresh water; and coastal erosion and sea-level rise.

In our environmental advocacy work, Caritas researches and documents the effect of climate change and other environmental damage on communities around Oceania through our annual State of the Environment in Oceania report. These powerful first-hand accounts have ensured the voices of Oceania are heard by decision-makers, from those who are setting New Zealand’s environmental and climate policy to those debating global responses at the Paris climate-change summit.

Middle East: Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria during 2011, we have been supporting thousands of the approximately 1.2 million refugees living in neighbouring Lebanon.

Our work in Lebanon is part of a regional response to the crisis, which also includes supplying food, water and shelter to desperate refugee families in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

With one of the largest refugee populations in the world living in Jordan, we have begun providing food, shelter, medical care, counselling, education and other aid to the thousands of displaced people in the country as part of our Peace in the Middle East campaign.

Changing lives in rural Cambodia

For more than 10 years Caritas has worked with partner Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) helping poor and marginalised people in Cambodia. During the last few years the focus has been on working with rural communities, particularly indigenous people, to adapt their farming to a changing climate.

Ten-year-old Sopee Sari and her family are just one of many families in O’Chra Village, Mondulkiri Province, that have been supported by Caritas’ work and can now grow enough food to feed themselves, as well as provide an income.

Producing more crops, and having an income, also means that Sopee’s aim to become a doctor is more attainable for the diligent Year 4 student.

‘I study so I can gain knowledge, so I can become a doctor,’ Sopee says.

To help her family ensure they have enough to eat and sell, Sopee works in the family fields after school alongside her mother and father.

‘After school I come home to have lunch with my parents. Then I take a break and go clear up the field, so potatoes can grow better. Afterwards, I go get water from the well and I cook rice and wash the dishes,’ she says.

Caritas’ programme includes providing wells, water filters and toilets to help families maintain a more hygienic environment. There is also a new focus around preventing illegal logging and land-grabbing of indigenous people’s customary land.