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Lent at a time of tsunami

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has said that "parishes, communities and individuals who have been deep in prayer and practical and financial support for those who had their livelihood destroyed" in the Boxing Day tsunami have shown that thay can "lay aside indifference" to embrace the season of Lent, that "forces us to come to terms with the 'tsunami' of sin and evil in our lives".

In his Pastoral Letter for Lent, he speaks of "a search for God continues through prayer, fasting, and works of love". He says this includes "regular sharing in the Mass, pondering the presence of Christ in Eucharistic Adoration, the Way of the Cross and other prayer leads us to the Easter mysteries of our faith".

"By fasting and self-denial we can contribute to Project Compassion and continue the magnificent response of giving to others, which has begun already this year in the Tsunami Appeal for Caritas," he says.

In Australia, the beginning of Lent is marked by the launch of the Project Compassion appeal for Caritas Australia. In Western Sydney yesterday, Penrith Panthers Premier League players John Flint, Grant Purdon and Nathan Gilchrist (pictured) joined the community of Caroline Chisholm College, Glenmore Park, to mark the launch of the appeal.

Parramatta Diocese Caritas Director Sr Libby Rogerson IBVM said the terrible loss and destruction wrought by the Boxing Day tsunami in some of the world's poorest countries highlighted the urgent need to address poverty with generosity and commitment.

"Caritas Australia has already raised more than $12 million for countries affected by the tsunami to provide for basic health and shelter needs, water purification, the mass burials and funerals of the dead," she said.

"Further development aid is urgently required for the people of Sudan, East Timor, Cambodia, Bougainville and many other countries. It is imperative that the poverty, lack of education and poor health systems, which allow so many people to die, be addressed."

In Bendigo - the administrative centre of Victoria's Sandhurst Diocese - 1500 pancakes were handed out in the city's Hargreaves Mall in celebration of Shrove Tuesday, and to mark the launch of Project Compassion.

Caritas Australia Sandhurst Diocese co-ordinator Kerry Stone said despite patchy rain, the event was a success. She said students from three secondary colleges performed in the mall, with students from another eight Catholic primary schools attending.

Meanwhile in Ireland, Catholic Primate Dr Seán Brady, and Bishop of Limerick Dr Donal Murray, yesterday launched a pastoral reflection for Lent on responding to child sexual abuse.

Bishop Murray said: "The Good Samaritan is our model. We must not, like the priest and Levite in the parable, pass by on the other side, failing to see somebody's suffering because we are too wrapped up in our own business to notice. To be a Good Samaritan means being available to listen, to learn, to understand and to offer wholehearted help."

And in Jerusalem, Latin Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah has encouraged the faithful to fast and pray for the success of peace efforts.

Using the term "jihad" to refer to an internal struggle, he called Lenten penance is "the true jihad". He argued that interior struggle - fasting, penance, almsgiving, and prayer - are necessary "to become free people capable of living according to the Spirit."

Archbishop Denis Hart: Lent, at a Time of Tsunami
Penrith Panthers launch Project Compassion (Diocese of Parramatta 9/2/05)
Shrove Tuesday campaign launched (Bendigo Advertiser 9/2/05)
Irish bishops issue Lenten reflection on child sexual abuse (Independent Catholic News 8/2/05)
Jerusalem patriarch urges Lenten "jihad" for peace (Catholic World News 8/2/05)

Caritas Australia - Project Compassion 2005
Towards Healing Lenten Reflection (Catholic Communications Ireland)

Caritas acting on Africa's 'tsunami toll every week' (CathNews 9/2/05)
Lenten appeal to use resources out of love, not fear (CathNews 24/2/04)
Pell launching major Caritas appeal with peace call (CathNews 5/3/03)
Caritas appeal launch highlights refugees' hour of need (CathNews 13/2/02)


Lent to begin with calls for peace around the UK (Independent Catholic News 8/2/05)
Catholics Urged to "Do Something Extra This Lent" (Zenit 7/2/05)
Repentance is necessary for the forgiveness of sin: A Lenten Message from Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop of Parramatta (Diocese of Parramatta 9/2/05)
The challenge is poverty: the time is now! (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle 7/2/05)
Sudan Crisis far from over, warns Sudan expert (Caritas Australia 7/2/05)
Project Comnpassion 2005: 'Chance to 'magnify impact of your gifts' (Catholic Weekly 6/2/05)
Archbishop Francis Carroll: The time for compassion and generosity will always be now (Catholic Voice February 2005)
Archbishop Phillip Wilson: Perfect Pancakes for Compassion (Archdiocese of Adelaide)

9 Feb 2005