Lent and Project Compassion

The word 'Lent' means 'springtime' and of course in the northern hemisphere, Lent occurs during, or just before, Spring. It is intended to be a time of preparation for energetic growth. It is a time set aside to renew and prepare ourselves to receive the fullness of the resurrection. Yet before there can be the joy and exuberance of new life, first there must be death - death to selfishness, death to mean-spiritedness, death to anything that serves ourselves rather than others. To prepare our minds and hearts for the joyous celebration of new life and energy of Easter, we can use Lent as a kind-of spiritual makeover time. Personal pledges to forgo favourite foods, to fast, to give to charity and to extend our prayer time are simple and effective ways to reorientate our hearts from selfishness towards life and love. The Stations of the Cross is an ancient prayer tradition designed to do just this. While it can seem sombre and gloomy to meditate on Jesus' suffering and death, the essence of this prayer is to recognise the 'cross' in our own lives so that we too may participate in Jesus' death and resurrection.

At John XXIII College we will be celebrating Lent in various activities throughout the school in both the Primary and Secondary. Activities range from large group masses to in class activities and also changes to canteen menu. A special Lenten Focus will be erected in the Library so the whole school can follow the steps of Jesus to His death.

Ash Wednesday is also the launch of 'Project Compassion' which will run throughout Lent. In 2012, Project Compassion carries a simple, yet insightful message: "If you want Peace, work for Justice" - Pope Paul VI. This message of hope remains as powerful as ever. During Project Compassion we are asking all students and staff to help us raise money and offer hope to the millions of families who fight for justice, peace and survival every single day. Collections will occur in Homerooms, Primary classrooms and all main offices.

This appeal is an extraordinary, ongoing demonstration of the faith, love and generosity of the Catholic congregation and caring supporters throughout Australia, all in the name of justice and peace. It is the lifeblood of Caritas Australia; without it, they could not do the work that they do. During class time and Homeroom time we will be sharing stories from Timor Leste, the Thai-Burma border, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Peru and Indigenous Australia. Their stories humble and inspire us, and show how your contributions to Project Compassion help people build better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.

Justice and Peace is your doing. Embrace Project Compassion 2012.

Silvana Vicoli
Faith & Justice Coordinator K-12