By Jamie O’Brien
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has this week reinforced the message of Pope Francis and the upcoming World Day of the Poor at the liturgical launch of his 2017 Christmas Appeal for LifeLink.
“It is an initiative which we can be sure will find a place in the Church’s life for a long time to come, touching as it does one of the most fundamental aspects of our Christian faith,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“In his letter inaugurating this first World Day of the Poor, the Pope writes powerfully of the many faces of poverty in our contemporary experience,” the Archbishop continued.
“We live in a country which is richly blessed with natural and human resources, with a stable political system, with a well-developed and resourced education system and with generally good access to medical care for all who need it,” he said.
The liturgical launch of the 2017 Christmas Appeal for LifeLink was held at St Mary’s Cathedral, with Archbishop was joined for the occasion by LifeLink Chairman and Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG and Cathedral Dean Monsignor Michael Keating, in addition to some 150 parish priests, parish representatives and guests.
The official launch of the 2017 Christmas Appeal for LifeLink takes place Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November, the same weekend as the inaugural World Day of the Poor.
Archbishop Costelloe went on to say that even in our city of Perth, there are people in real and often desperate need.
“The faces of poverty about which the Pope talks are not all easily seen in our communities, but many of them are.
“And what is particularly frightening is that some of those experiences of poverty about which the Pope speaks are no longer as unimaginable in our own lives and communities as they once were,” the Archbishop explained.
In a special video for the occasion, which is scheduled to be shown in parishes this weekend, Archbishop Costelloe explained that this year, LifeLink agencies will reach out to assist more than 34,000 Western Australia families and individuals in need.
“This would be equivalent to the entire population of Hammond Park, Aubin Grove, Atwell, Success, Cockburn Central, Wattleup, Henderson, Munster, Coogee, Jandakot and Banjup,” he said.
“LifeLink is for us in our Archdiocese at least a beginning, and I would say a very effective one, in developing this new vision of life and society among our Catholic community and beyond,” the Archbishop said, after reading a letter of Pope Francis on the occasion of World Day of the Poor.
This year, the appeal makes special mention and focus of the work of LifeLink supported agency, Centrecare Inc. A special edition newsletter has been produced, providing an in-depth account of its work and that of other LifeLink agencies.
Originally established by the Archdiocese of Perth in 1946, Centrecare is now a functionally independent Incorporated Association, a modern expression of the Church in today’s world.
As one of Western Australia’s most well established, professional and innovative providers of counselling and specialist social services, Centrecare delivers vital services including: accommodation and support, general counselling, family domestic violence counselling, family relationship counselling, gambling help, indigenous specific mental health, migration advice, financial counselling and youth and family counselling.
With offices in Perth Central, Midland, Cannington, Gosnells, Joondalup and Mirrabooka (as well as other regional locations) Centrecare reaches out to help more than 25,000 people each year.
The Archbishop concluded his speech at the liturgical launch with reference to a simple, but profound statement from Pope Francis’ letter.
“Reflecting on the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father points out that it was ‘precisely because he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, (that) Francis was able to see and serve him in the poor.’
“It will be the same for us,” the Archbishop exclaimed.
“The more we come to know and love Christ, the more we will be ready and eager to love those whom Christ loves.
“And the way in which we love those whom Christ loves, will be the measure and the proof of the genuineness of our love for him.
Click Here to watch Archbishop Costelloe’s 2017 Christmas Appeal for LifeLink Video
Click Here to read the Special Edition of LifeLinks
Donate to LifeLink