Caritas has expressed its deep appreciation for the recent response of the Catholic community to the Lent Appeal.
‘We were truly humbled by the response we have received from the Catholic community this Lent. We have faced a number of challenges due to Covid level changes and uncertainty around Masses. A few weeks ago, we had only $340,000 towards our budgeted $1 million target,’ said Roger Ellis, Caritas Engagement Manager.
‘Things were looking extremely challenging but following our recent call out to donors and parishioners, and an incredible response, we have since received an influx of donations. This will make a huge difference to the lives of poor and vulnerable communities around the world,’ Roger said.
‘The funds donated to the Lent Appeal make it possible for us to work with our partners in responding to emergencies, long-term development needs, advocacy and our work with New Zealand young people in Catholic schools.’
By donating to the Lent Appeal people are joining with Caritas staff and partners to make real change in the lives of communities around the world including for example Cambodia, Fiji, and Kiribati as well as here in New Zealand.
The work of Caritas includes the provision of improved water, sanitation, hygiene, improved agricultural techniques, better education, literacy, trade training and reduced violence against women.
The new Lent total by mid-April was close to $700,000. While still below the 2021 budget, Caritas greatly appreciates every dollar people have given.
‘Donations are still coming in from parish offices and I want to say a big “thank you” to all those who have helped with promoting the appeal at Mass, counting donations and banking funds. We could not do our work without you,’ said Roger Ellis.
Anyone who would like to make a late donation can still do so either through the Caritas website www.caritas.org.nz/donate or by phoning 0800 22 10 22 to make a credit card donation.
‘Make post-Covid future a new beginning’ Caritas says
This year can mark the end of the old normal and the beginning of a new ‘normal’ that includes and provides for all, Caritas said in its oral submission to Parliament on 31 March 2021, about the Budget Policy Statement.
‘Governments have an opportunity to provide leadership towards a more sustainable future,’ Caritas Director Julianne Hickey told Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee. ‘A future that addresses the interwoven environmental, economic and social crises,’ she said.
‘The New Zealand pandemic response illustrated that strong, decisive action can be taken when there is a clear and recognised threat to human life and when there is sufficient will to protect the vulnerable. The focus of the team of five million on the common good needs to continue in ‘building back better’ from the pandemic to a more just, inclusive, sustainable and peaceful society,’ Julianne Hickey said.
Engagement Manager Roger Ellis said transformative change was needed for a just and sustainable economy particularly in transport and agriculture, while ensuring the negative impacts of change don’t unfairly fall on the poor at home nor in our Pacific neighbourhood.
Caritas highlighted the need to include all, noting barriers to participation by people with disabilities, by the elderly and others who feel left behind or left out by rapid technological change.
‘New targeted programmes will be required to ensure older workers and retired people have a “place at the table” to participate in a post-Covid society,’ Roger Ellis said.
Despite some progress in child poverty statistics, among Māori and Pacific families and children with disabilities poverty remains well above the national average.
To address these problems, many of which have historic roots, Caritas’ Matthew Papesch said we need to draw on the wisdom of an intergenerational perspective from Te Ao Māori, other indigenous cultures, and the Catholic world view.
‘Long-term intergenerational investment is required to overcome entrenched inequalities in employment, housing and the justice system,’ he said.