The school community of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese has a long and proud record of engaging with and supporting the work of Catholic Mission.
For the last 5 years, at least, this diocese has raised the highest amount for Catholic Mission of any dioceses around the country. This is a remarkable achievement and is testament to the commitment to outreach, social inequality and justice and the importance of the work of the Church in communities around the world, by our school administrations, teachers, students and their broader community.
Each year our School Liaison officer, Richard Cootes, conducts a program of school presentations in primary schools in the months following Lent. These sessions include a gospel passage, hymns and a musical compilation. The presentation is a reflection upon a specific project that is indicative of the work of Catholic Mission and the associated needs of children in that project.
Teachers can contact Richard on 0413687223 to book a presentation for their school.
The focus of much of our activity is directed to October - World Mission Month - when we, as a community remember, celebrate and fundraise for the work of the Church supporting the needs of children in communities in over 160 countries around the world.
The fundraising carried out by the schools of the diocese is specifically directed to the work of Children's Mission under the mantra of "children helping children" - a unique program within the church.
In the lead up to World Mission Month, Catholic Mission provides schools with a resource kit which will typically include a DVD and information sheets about a project or projects that can be used as focus for awareness, education, fundraising and advocacy. It will also include student worksheets and other related material.
This material and other general information about Catholic Mission is available to download from our national website: www.catholicmission.org.au
In October, every second year, we conduct two Mission Masses – one for the schools of Newcastle and the Lower Hunter area and one for the schools of the Upper Hunter area. Both are hosted by a particular parish/school on a rotating basis according to the church size and accessibility. In the subsequent years we conduct a major gathering as an activity of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world, focusing on a particular issue as a theme.
In past events we have walked around the edge of Lake Macquarie at Speers Point, with students carrying a small bucket of water symbolizing the daily chore of many children in developing countries. We have also gathered at and walked the trails of Blackbutt Reserve, in a similar fashion, carrying rice and water. The rice carried was then donated to Penola House African refugee centre at Hamilton run by Sisters Betty and Diana.
Catholic Mission also offers facilitated immersion experiences for teachers and students into a different culture to experience both the culture and work of the Church in a different country or within our Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities.
For details about resources, gatherings or immersion experiences, please contact the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle office on 49791141.