Dear People of the Geraldton Diocese

This year, 2023, finds us all affected by a much higher cost of living in Australia than experienced in recent years, affecting the lives of many people and families. We are all seeing more and more homeless sitting on pavements or pushing trolleys. Families are taking to their cars for refuge because they cant afford a place to call home, or if they can afford a place, there simply aren't homes available due to an overwhelming shortage.

There are those who ask, “So what is your community or parish doing to help?” Yes, it may appear as nothing is being offered. If you look at the individual financials of these places, you would see a reflection of what normal households are struggling with, having not much left over to offer any help to anyone. Despite this—it is not the sum total of our community or parishes. It is us, the individuals who make up these communities. It is us, who despite obstacles of uncertainty and doubt with our finances, good is happening in our communities in quiet ways and, as individuals, in our simple ways we are making a difference to people’s lives. Because we know that is what we are called to do.

As Pope Francis also encourages us to do, “…..thank the Lord that so many men and women are devoted to caring for the poor and the excluded; they are persons of every age and social status who show understanding and readiness to assist the marginalized and those who suffer. They are not superheroes but “next door neighbours”, ordinary people who quietly make themselves poor among the poor. They do more than give alms: they listen, they engage, they try to understand and deal with difficult situations and their causes. They consider not only material but also spiritual needs; and they work for the integral promotion of individuals”. 

The Communio Christmas Appeal is held annually throughout our diocese during the season of Advent, commencing in every Diocesan Parish on Sunday, 17th November, the last Sunday in Ordinary Time before the Feast of Christ the King. This Appeal is a means that individuals can contribute to, to quietly help offer financial assistance and engage with others in need of support and encouragement.

Despite the vastness and remoteness of many communities in our diocese, through this Appeal we are able to care and support each other and the various ministries that assist people’s lives. But it is only through your ongoing generosity that any assistance can happen in the first place. 

What becomes more apparent with the cost of living going up and lack of social housing for people who cannot afford their own home, is that family relationships become strained and children suffer in the fallout of these struggling relationships. Individuals feel frustrated, helpless and forgotten. These all find assistance from Centacare, who rely on Communio funds to be able to assist them. 

Our Priests or Pastoral Associates are approached more and more for assistance around the diocese. These are often supported from Communio, as is Nazareth House, who are helped to purchase items not funded by the Government to help improve the wellbeing of the elderly.   

Communio continues to support the ministry of Mrs Cathy Jones, Pastoral Leader with the local Catholic and Aboriginal Communities in the Inland Parish of Mt Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra. The small Catholic Inland Communities of Leonora, Laverton and Leinster, parishes that hold the rich Catholic faith tradition begun in these areas 122 years ago.  Your support of Communio lets these communities know they are not forgotten, and we are all connected through our generosity and kindness towards each other in faith.  

Thank you to all those who generously contributed to the 2022 Christmas Appeal totaling $20,735.95 and on behalf of all those who benefited from those funds, I request your prayerful consideration in supporting this year’s Appeal.

Donations $2 and over are tax-deductible. If you require a receipt, please indicate your preference as to how you would like to receive it.

I assure you that your personal details and contribution details are kept strictly confidential. 

Every blessing and peace, 

Yours sincerely

Most Reverend Michael Morrissey DD
Bishop of Geraldton

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