It has been a difficult past few months for Australia, with bushfires raging across our nation.
It has destroyed countless homes; ruined livelihoods; razed millions of acres of land; and ultimately taken the lives of family, friends, and animals that call Australia home.
But through the devastation, we have seen great compassion and love shown by others. As a nation, it has shown how we band together to lift others up when the burden of darkness and despair becomes too heavy.
Our differences have been left behind, and we have joined as one to stand up for the place we call home.
Our shared love and compassion
Australia is home to over 24 million people.
With a quarter of residents born overseas and many more who are first or second-generation Australians, we have become one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world.
Despite where we were born or where we have come from, there is something that we all share in common with one another – the love for our great country.
It is this love that has given rise to the millions of dollars donated towards the bushfire crisis and the people and animals affected by it.
This love that has urged countless volunteers to step forward and lend a helping hand.
This love that has resulted in acts of kindness and compassion, good deeds and heroism.
Diverse communities are supporting those impacted by bushfires
Across the news we have witnessed a variety of ethnic communities traveling to fire-ravaged areas offering their support, wanting to give back to the community.
In Bairnsdale, an Indian restaurant called Desi Grill teamed up with Sikh Volunteers Australia to offer free food to bushfire victims.
Members of the Newport Islamic Society travelled to a fire-ravaged town to cook meals for exhausted volunteer firefighters.
And we saw the Sikh community in NSW come together to provide groceries, toiletries and tools to victims and volunteers.
‘We feel pain for our brothers and sisters in the bush, we feel pain for the poor animals and creatures that have died ... We are trying to do whatever we can,’ said Dr Parmjit Singh from the Care One Care All charity in NSW.
Australia is a diverse nation, but through our shared love and compassion, we have come together to support those in need during this bushfire season. We pray for all those who have been affected by the bushfires and thank those who have generously supported them.
At CatholicCare we acknowledge that for many members of our community the date on which it is celebrated is significant for the pain and suffering endured by our First Australians as a result of white settlement. Whatever the future holds for Australia Day, we hope that it can be a celebration of all Australians in all their diversity.