2016 ARCHBISHOP’S CHRISTMAS APPEAL FOR LifeLink: Moved with compassion for the suffering of others
In his address, Archbishop Costelloe focused on two ways in which Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II have spoken about the needs and responsibilities of the Church in the 21st century. Photo: Ron Tan
By Marco Ceccarelli
It was with a strong encouragement to engage our compassion, our generosity and our love for Christ in His suffering brothers and sisters that Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe outlined the plans for his annual Christmas Appeal for LifeLink.
His address was made alongside Perth Auxiliary Bishop and LifeLink Chairman, Donald Sproxton, during a liturgical service at St Mary’s Cathedral on 10 November attended by more than 160 priests and parish representatives from across the Archdiocese.
The Archbishop’s Christmas Appeal for LifeLink will be officially launched in parishes throughout the Archdiocese this weekend, 19-20 November.
In his address, Archbishop Costelloe laid emphasis on the two ways in which the needs and responsibilities of the Church have generally been spoken about throughout the relatively short life of the Catholic Church in the 21st century.
The first is reflected in his Christmas Appeal for LifeLink theme and refers to Pope Francis’ call for the modern Church to become a healer of people’s wounds and a warmer of people’s hearts.
This was the focus of a letter the Archbishop sent to all parishioners on the weekend of 12-13 November in which he asked the faithful, and anyone else willing to contribute, to stop before those who are in need and, like the Good Samaritan, help in any way possible.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Auxiliary Bishop of Perth and Chairman of LifeLink, Donald Sproxton, led the special Liturgical Service for the annual Christmas Appeal for LifeLink at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, 10 November. Photo: Ron Tan
The letter emphasised that when this help cannot be given directly, the Archdiocesan agencies which are supported by LifeLink can act as a means through which one can reach out to those struggling in life.
The second point raised by the Archbishop concerned John Paul II’s exhortation for the Church to be directed towards a renewed contemplation of the face of Christ “in order that our witness, our practical response to the Gospel, might not prove to be hopelessly inadequate,” the Archbishop said, quoting Pope John Paul II.
The candle of Grace, symbolic of the forgiveness that God has shown us and the readiness to forgive others which He is calling us to, was lit during the Liturgical Launch. Photo: Ron Tan
“Because we are disciples of Jesus walking in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, [we] are called to be, and empowered by grace to be, these healers and these heart-warmers,” he added.
“Unless this is our motivation, our efforts to raise money for LikeLink will at best be a sign of our solidarity with those less well off than ourselves and at worst a relatively easy way of quietening our conscience and fooling ourselves that we have done something to meet our obligations, without having to engage our compassion, or our generosity, or our love for Christ in his suffering brothers and sisters. The Gospel calls us to much more than this.”
Chairman of LifeLink, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, is pictured with appeal representative, Franco Miranda, during refreshments for the special Liturgical Service or the annual Christmas Appeal for LifeLink at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan
The liturgical launch saw three candles being lit, each representing grace, healing and freedom, followed by the proclamation of three scripture readings.
“May these flames really be a sign of what is in our hearts: the hope that those in need might experience this Christmas grace, healing and freedom because our hearts, like the heart of Christ, are moved with a compassion that inspires generosity, solidarity and a large-heartedness which reflects the mercy of God himself,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
The Archbishop’s address was followed by a few words from LifeLink Manager, Brett Mendez, who encouraged all parishioners to thoughtfully consider supporting the Archbishop’s Christmas Appeal this year.
Fremantle Parish appeal representatives Marlene Dulard from Fremantle Parish and Joan Swindells joined Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton for refreshments following the Liturgical Launch. Photo: Ron Tan
“Every contribution, even if it is one dollar, two dollars or five dollars, can make a powerful difference. When we add all these gifts together, small contributions from a large number of people have a very big impact on how many people in need our agencies can assist. Our LifeLink motto ‘together, we can make a difference’ really is a statement of fact,” Mr Mendez said.
“Our LifeLink agencies reach out to help more than 34,000 Western Australians in need each year, through the provision of accommodation, food, clothing, emergency assistance, counselling, and the protection of women and children escaping domestic violence and abuse.
“This is the only appeal conducted in parishes each year to help support welfare delivery in the Archdiocese of Perth, so I ask everyone to please be generous and give whatever you can to this appeal,” he added.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe meets one of the many parish appeal representatives who attended the special Liturgical Service for the annual Christmas Appeal for LifeLink at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, 10 November. Photo: Ron Tan
Archbishop Costelloe will make a personal appeal to parishioners via a pre-recorded message which he has requested be screened after each Mass in all parishes this weekend.
One of the many LifeLink supported agencies, The Shopfront, is the focus of the Archbishop’s Christmas Appeal this year. The Shopfront is a drop-in and referral centre offering support and friendship to people experiencing difficulties dealing with homelessness, financial stress, hunger, depression, loneliness, addiction and violence.
To help ‘heal the wounds and warm the hearts’ of people in need this Christmas you can donate securely online at www.lifelink.com.au.