Love of God and love of neighbour was in action at St Catherine’s College throughout Lent. In response to a challenge to raise money for clean water in Indonesia and in keeping with Lenten almsgiving the students gave every day.
There were no mufti-days, sausage sizzles, raffles or any other large-scale fundraising events. The students simply gave. The challenge, laid down by Year 13 student, Libby Dai (community captain), was for each year group to raise funds to enable at least five Indonesian families to have access to clean water and toilet facilities. This was a direct response to the Caritas Lenten Appeal.
The generosity of these students was an inspiration, particularly to staff (who took some time to reach their target!)
Part of their motivation to give was the visit of the Director of Caritas Tanzania Peter Maduki who addressed the college halfway through the project. Impressed with the students’ generosity, Peter showed us the effect of our dollar. No longer do mothers have to walk half a day to find water (in streams shared by the animals) but there was a community stand-pipe a few metres from their homes. Those homes were no longer mud huts, but brick-built dwellings, again, as a result of an effective use of their dollar.
Some senior students were also lucky enough to see how Caritas NZ has been working with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Indonesia, where work with tsunami survivors has been a great challenge.
The dialogue with Peter Maduki from Caritas Tanzania and Fr Edi Mulyono SJ of Indonesia sent the clearest message that love of neighbour knows no boundaries or limitations; that our obligations as Catholic Christians are to actively seek and promote justice in this world. You would not have seen a better example of social justice than the Caritas Lenten Appeal at St Catherine’s College.
In monetary terms, 36 Indonesian families will have access to clean water and toilet facilities, with a little left over for some farmers to replace the roofs of their houses.