Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, is charting a new path into the future with the inauguration of a board which emerges from its incorporation process.
On Sep 22nd the Caritas Australia Board of Directors, including, Mr Robert Fitzgerald, AM as the inaugural Chair, participated in a special blessing as they lead Caritas Australia into a new era from October 1st. The Board, which replaces the previous National Advisory Council, offers a cross-section of experience and skills which will enrich Caritas Australia’s engagement with the Catholic sector and the Australian public.
The incorporation process, which was commenced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference over a year ago, will foster improved accountability, transparency and governance practices.
“Caritas Australia is a shining beacon in the life of the Catholic Church in Australia and beyond – a church without walls or borders. Caritas’ work amongst marginalised communities is a direct response to the Christian call to ‘act justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with our God’,” said Robert Fitzgerald AM.
“Caritas Australia has been driven by solidarity and compassion in action across its 55-year history in this country and beyond. Our people and partners listen to and journey with those in most need. It is with great hope that I take on the role as Chair, and I commit myself and our Board to make even more of a postive impact for vulnerable people globally, in the certain belief that we can do so.”
The Bishops Conference made the decision to incorporate Caritas Australia following considerable discernment and reflection on the best stewardship for the future of the agency. Bishop Vincent Long will step down as Caritas Australia’s Chair but remain on as an active board director.
“Every year Caritas Australia responds to humanitarian emergencies across the world and because we are embedded in local Churches – part of the social fabric of communities – Caritas Australia is often the first responder, able to provide food, water and shelter to those most in need,” said Bishop Long.
“As the global economy falls into a recession, the work of Caritas Australia is more important than ever.”
Other members of the Board include, Patricia Faulkner AO, Virginia Bourke, Jack de Groot, Christine Grima, Wendy Hughes and Dr. Martin Laverty. Caritas Australia’s CEO is Kirsty Robertson.
“I am very confident that the new Board has the skill and experience to guide us through the transition period and into the future. This is in the spirit of the Gospel itself, old and yet ever new, calling us forward into new terrain”, Bishop Long added.
Driven by Catholic Social Teaching principles, Caritas Australia will continue to engage with Australians across the Church and supporter community. Caritas Australia’s supporters are deeply connected to the mission to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity through frequent school and parish events across the country.
Caritas Australia is a member of Caritas Internationalis, one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks in the world with 169 agencies operating in over 200 countries and territories.