Franciscan Lenten Appeal
During the season of Lent all Catholic schools and parishes are encouraged to participate in a planned giving programme.
For many years, Padua College was involved with and gave generously to Caritas’ Project Compassion. Following a visit from the then Principal of St Francis of Assisi College, Faterbeliu, Timor-Leste, Padua began a special relationship of mutual understanding and friendship with that school. This meant that for the life of the arrangement the two schools would look for ways in which they could forge closer ties of Franciscan friendship.
Fundamentally for Padua this meant that each year the college would shift the focus of its major fundraising activity from Project Compassion to the needs St Francis of Assisi College. Held in conjunction with the annual Inter-House Cross Country carnival students gather sponsorship for participating in the carnival. Annually the college raises approximately $25,000 to $28,000 each year for this appeal. All the money raised is sent to the school in Timor-Leste via the Franciscan Provincial Office and then onto the school. In 2013 the students of Padua created a new record by raising a total of $33,200 for St Francis of Assisi College.
To date, Padua has helped fund the building of a new classrooms, a perimeter fence and classroom resources for St Francis of Assisi College. Staff and students have visited the school in Timor-Leste three times and the Principal and two students from Timor have visited Padua in 2010.
Why has St Francis of Assisi College and Timor-Leste become the focus for fundraising at Padua? In 1999, after a long struggle for colonization from, firstly Portugal and more recently, Indonesia, the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence. In withdrawing its presence, both politically and militarily from Timor, Indonesia left much of Timor’s infrastructure in ruins. Since then, the fledgling nation has struggled with poverty and lack of resources to rebuild itself. Along with the United Nations and many Non-Government Agencies (including those affiliated with the Catholic Church), Padua College has played a small part in helping one of the youngest nations of the world get back on its feet. There is still a long way to go!