Developments today - see Parish Social Justice Groups website:
Following the approval of the Parish Pastoral Council in March 2012, the Social Justice Group explored the possibility of joining (twinning) with another community. as a social justice project that will capture the hearts and minds of the Parish community.
The Social Justice Group recommended that the Parish twin with a community from East Timor, known to the Timorese people as Timor Leste, The Timorese people have a special relationship with the Australian people, forged during World War II and continuing to this present day. It is one of the world’s newest and poorest countries.
This twinning is generally called a Friendship Agreement. There are some 50 formal Friendship Agreements in place between Australian and East Timorese communities as part of the Australia Timor Leste Friendship Network. There are other communities providing support to religious orders who have foundations in the country.
It is hoped to twin with an East Timorese community already associated with the Salesians.
PURPOSE OF THE AGREEMENT
The formation of a Friendship Agreement will enable the Parish of St John Bosco to contribute to and enhance the development of critical, communal and public infrastructure and programs which are sorely needed in this newly formed nation.
The formation of a Friendship Agreement will enable the Parish of St John Bosco to give expression to the social mission of the Church, which is "one of the three central tenets of the faith along with celebrating the sacraments and the preaching of the Word of God
".(Principles of Engagement on International Development through the Lens of Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas, Catholic Religious Australia and Australian Catholic University, 2010)
The work of the Bosco Friends of a Timor Leste Community Group, henceforth, "Bosco Friends", and the Parish Community will:
BE HOLISTIC in scope – not limited to economic but include the political, cultural, personal and spiritual spheres as well;
PROMOTE the dignity of the human person and the common good;
Give PRIORITY to the poorest, and
Ensure that those who are assisted are the SUBJECTS of their own development not the object of our ideas;
NATURE OF THE INVOLVEMENT
Assistance to Timor Leste communities is done through the mechanism of a formal Friendship Agreement between the government of Timor Leste and the Australian group, known as the ‘Friends of …. This agreement nominates the community in Timor Leste which will be twinned with our community.
The agreement is generally for 10 years.
The work of Bosco Friends is threefold:
1. To work with the Timor Leste community to establish and prioritise the needs of their community and the best ways to address those needs that are within the competence of the Bosco Friends ;
2. To raise money that will be used to fund implementation of the agreed program/s;
3. To implement the program/s.
The programs are generally of a communal nature – for the community as a whole, rather than a specific family or group.
There is potential for intergenerational community building within the Bosco parish and across the borders to the particular community in Timor by involving, for example, students from our schools, young people in Youth Matters and residents of John Paul Village in specific projects.
Programs include such things as provision of potable water and construction of communal structures such as halls, classrooms, health clinics and other basic infrastructure. Some groups provide scholarships to help with the provision secondary education. Some groups are working to build sustainable local enterprises. Other groups provide assistance for the training of teachers.
1. Many of the Australian groups become incorporated as an association. Others do not and work within the structures of the sponsoring organisation. Preliminary research suggests that incorporation is not a necessary step but a prudent one. It:
a. enhances the longevity and sustainability of the group;
b. provides for financial accountability and probity;
c. affords a measure of legal protection to individuals in the group;
d. assists in the establishment of bank accounts in Timor Leste,
e. facilitates the application for grants and AusAid accreditation;
f. provides a robust forum to address issues that arise from time to time; and
g. provides a structure that can accommodate the formation of partnerships with other organisations, such other churches, local Council and community groups.
2. The establishment of a friendship agreement and the formation of Bosco Friends will require a commitment from some members of the group (and/or wider Parish community) to travel to Timor Leste to meet with and get to know the local community at least on an annual basis. There has to be clear policy about how this travel is funded. It is the firm advice from other groups that no travel is sponsored or subsidised by Bosco Friends . We may need to fund travel of members of Timor Leste group to Australia, if that was considered as needed or desirable.
3. Bosco Friends will need to work hard to ensure that the relationship with the Timor Leste community is governed by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and that the Parish community is educated in these principles.
4. The commitment of the Parish community to this endeavour needs to be done in such a manner that its existing programs and commitments are not diminished.
NEXT STEPS (If PPC Endorsement Is Received)
The Social Justice Group will prepare a detailed report for the consideration of the Parish Pastoral Council. This report is to provide recommendations on, but not limited to the following:
The membership of the group that will have responsibility for the carriage of the Friendship Agreement;
The principles that will govern the operation of this group;
Relationship to Parish structures and governance;
Relationship with other Parish groups, including the primary school and secondary college;
Risk management issues, including insurance matters;
Concerning the Friendship Agreement
The Social Justice Group will make preliminary contact with the Ambassador of Timor Leste and the Australia Timor Leste Friendship Network with a view to identifying a potential community in Timor Leste with whom a Friendship Agreement can be established.
Concerning Parish Consultation & Support
The Social Justice Group will develop a process for securing and maintaining the support of the Parish community.
The Social Justice Group recommends to the Parish Pastoral Council that the Parish Community, through the Social Justice Group, actively pursues the development of a Friendship Agreement with a community of Timor Leste.