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Pell launching major Caritas appeal with peace call

Today Sydney's Archbishop George launches the Caritas Australia annual Project Compassion Lenten Appeal by echoing the Pope's call on Catholics to offer up their Ash Wednesday prayer and fasting for peace.

"Like the Holy Father I also pray that the Gospel Beatitude "Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God" (Mt. 5.9) will resound with a new force throughout the whole world," he said in a statement released yesterday.

Project Compassion is the main fundraising campaign for Caritas Australia, the Catholic agency for overseas aid and development and is held each year during the six weeks of Lent.

"Now more than ever it is important for the international community to come together to respond compassionately to the needs of impoverished communities worldwide," said the organisation's national director Jack de Groot.

"With the launch of Project Compassion, Caritas Australia embraces The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II's, call for a special day of fasting for peace on this day" said Mr de Groot.

Archbishop Pell will launch the appeal at the 12:10 pm Mass at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral. Jack de Groot Caritas Australia National Director will address the mass to talk about Project Compassion and the importance of peace.

The appeal will be launched locally in other dioceses around Australia at various Ash Wednesday Masses, including 10:00 am in St Stephen's Cathedral Brisbane, celebrated by Archbishop John Bathersby.

This year's Project Compassion theme is 'Freedom from Slavery' focusing on the countless millions of people around the world who are slaves of poverty and oppression.

Donations to Project Compassion may be made by calling Caritas Australia on 1800 024 413, visiting or via post, Caritas Australia, 19 MacKenzie Street, North Sydney, 2060.

Caritas Australia

| Project Compassion
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5 Mar 2003