By Amanda Murthy
Loving one another with the love of Jesus was the message delivered by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB in his address at the 2019 Secondary Schools Forum for LifeLink Day.
Student representatives from 30 Archdiocesan Catholic Secondary Schools gathered at Aranmore Catholic College for the annual LifeLink Day forum on Tuesday 28 May, as they pledged their support to collaborate with LifeLink agencies to help the underprivileged people of WA.
LifeLink agencies include Catholic Ministry for People who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired, Centacare Employment and Training, Centrecare Inc, Djooraminda, Emmanuel Centre, Emmaus Community, Identitywa, Daydawn Advocacy Centre, The Shopfront, and Catholic Outreach.
Present at the event joining Archbishop Costelloe were LifeLink Chairman, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce, CEWA Team Leader (Religious Education and Faith Formation Team) Diana Alteri, school chaplains, staff, and student representatives.
During his address, Bishop Sproxton announced that to date, more than two million dollars has been collectively raised by Catholic primary and secondary schools in support of LifeLink Day, of which, $108,316.69 was raised in 2018.
Bishop Sproxton also took the opportunity to thank the school staff and students, supported by CEWA, for their enthusiasm and efforts in organising many fundraising activities that helped raised the much-needed funds, further explaining the core objectives of the LifeLink Day initiative.
Archbishop Costelloe echoed similar sentiments, as he thanked each school for their participation, support and dedication to the ongoing cause before revealing the winners of the Archbishop’s Spirit Award for 2018: Mount Claremont’s John XXIII College and Manning’s St Pius X Catholic Primary School.
“We want to encourage each and every one of you to become real leaders in your own schools and spearhead the efforts to raise the money we need to continue reaching out to all the people who depend on the work of these agencies,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“Jesus tells us to love one another as He has loved us, He tells us that we should wash each other’s feet – that is to be servants of each other as He is.
“He tells us to give the hungry something to eat and the thirsty something to drink, to look after the sick, to care for the poor, because whenever we do we are actually in reality, doing those things to Him and for Him.
“These are some of the things Jesus is asking His disciples [us] to do and they are some of the ways in which He shows us He is still alive today,” Archbishop Costelloe added.
Participants were then asked to provide feedback and ideas for a new informational video for LifeLink that is in the works as part of the Archbishop’s special project.
A committee formed for this purpose, made up of student representatives were introduced to those present.
Archbishop Costelloe, Bishop Sproxton, and Dr Sayce then answered a series of questions posed by the students as part of the forum.
Some of the questions asked involved the topics of the upcoming Australian Catholic Youth Festival to be held in Perth, the Church’s stand on euthanasia, and how to keep the faith alive in the toughest of times.
Servite College student Cecilia asked the Archbishop for advice on “how we are able to educate and incorporate the Christian values to the non-Catholic students without seeming like we are forcing our beliefs on them?”.
Archbishop Costelloe began his response by echoing the words of the past popes, including John Paul II, Pope Benedict, and the current Pope Francis, explaining that the role of the Church in sharing the faith is to propose, not to impose.
“We should be proud to share this amazing faith of ours, but it is the way we go about sharing that faith, which can be through our actions or by the way we interact with others.
“If we first and foremost make the effort to understand our faith, we will be the best example of what being Catholic is and people will be able to see in action and experience the true love of Christ.”
The official launch for LifeLink Day 2019 took place on Wednesday 5 June.
For more information on LifeLink go to www.lifelink.com.au