Lifelink responds to suffering
LifeLink Day is all about responding in a practical, down-to-earth way to people who are suffering, said Archbishop Costelloe this week, as he spoke to students, teachers and special guests at the launch of the 2015 LifeLink Day.
More than 185 students from 25 Perth secondary schools gathered at Aranmore Catholic College, Leederville on Tuesday, 28 April, together with teachers and special guests, to listen to the Archbishop speak about the theme of LifeLink for 2015, which is Seeing in those we meet the face of Jesus.
The launch was opened by Aranmore College Principal Declan Tanham, who thanked those present for their attendance, while also welcoming special guests, including Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton; St Mary’s Leederville parish priest Fr Joseph Angelo; Catholic Education Office WA (CEOWA) Executive Director Dr Tim McDonald; Director, Religious Education and Assistant Director, Learning and Teaching, CEOWA, Debra Sayce; and Team Leader, Religious Education, CEOWA Diana Alteri.
In speaking about the theme of the 2015 LifeLink Day, the Archbishop spoke about the Shroud of Turin, linking its presence to the work of LifeLink through its revelation of the face of Jesus and its invitation to see the image of those who suffer.
“People who have studied this cloth would say that, on close examination, it reveals the image of a man who has been crucified in the manner described in the Gospels – in the story of the passion and death of Jesus,” the Archbishop explained.
“It reminds us of Jesus – it reminds us of a man who has been rejected, and abused and tortured and murdered. A man of suffering,” he continued.
The Archbishop went on to recall the words of Pope Francis, who said that contemplating the Shroud might help us all to find, in Jesus Christ, the merciful face of God.
“Pope Francis isn’t saying that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus, but he is simply saying that by looking at this image, it is an invitation to see in the face of Jesus the merciful face of God.
“Pope Francis goes on to add something that is very important – that to recognise the merciful face of God in the faces of our brothers and sisters, especially those who suffer the most, remembering that the image of the Shroud is the image of a man of suffering.
“So, we’re being invited to see in the image of the Shroud the image of our brothers and sisters, especially those who suffer the most.
“I think Pope Francis is actually grabbing hold of an idea that is really at the heart of what we believe as Christians. I think if we grasp this idea, then I think we will be able to understand what LifeLink Day is all about.”
The Archbishop continued his speech by explaining three key points made by Pope Francis about what it means to be Christian.
“The Pope is reminding us that, to be a Christian, is to believe in a God who is merciful.
“The second point is really the key in our faith – that we believe in Jesus, who, in His human history, His human story, His flesh and blood, life with all that goes into it, and His death and His Resurrection, unveils for us, reveals for us, the real face of God.
“If you want to know what God is like and how God thinks, and how God feels and how God wants to be, then have a look at Jesus.”
The third thing, the Archbishop explained, a point that Christians often forget – is that a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus is waiting to meet us in our brothers and sisters – in all our brothers and sisters.
“But in a special way, He is waiting to meet us in those who are suffering, that’s what we believe, that’s at the heart of our faith. That’s what it is to be a Christian.
“That we believe in a God who is full of mercy; that we get to know Him by getting to know Jesus. And that He is waiting to meet us, to encounter us, to speak to us in our brothers and sisters, and especially in those who suffer in any way.
“LifeLink Day is all about responding in a practical, down-to-earth way to people who are suffering.”
As the fundraising and promotional arm supporting, and most importantly funding, the work of social service agencies in the Archdiocese, LifeLink has raised more than $47 million since its foundation by Emeritus Archbishop Hickey in 1994.
In 2014, LifeLink Day raised some $90,000 and, in 2015, the target has been set to raise $100,000.
The Archbishop ended his speech by announcing the recipients of the 2014 Archbishop’s Spirit Award, which is awarded not necessarily to who raised the most money but to who demonstrates, in a very strong way, active support for LifeLink.
Our Lady’s Assumption Primary School, Dianella received the Spirit Award as the primary school recipient and Trinity College, East Perth received the Spirit Award as the secondary school recipient.
The Archbishop also made special mention of four schools for their efforts in 2014, those being St Gerard’s Primary School, Westminster; St Pius X Primary School, Manning; La Salle Catholic College, Midland and Holy Cross Catholic College, Ellenbrook.