Father Tonette talks to Caritas College students

VISIT: Jessica Smith, Father Paul Bourke, Father Tonette Timoner and Lara Etchells.
VISIT: Jessica Smith, Father Paul Bourke, Father Tonette Timoner and Lara Etchells.

FILIPINO priest Father Ronald Anthony Timoner, known as Father Tonette, paid a visit to Port Augusta to speak to students of Caritas College on Thursday March 9.

Father Tonette is the Director of Socio-Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc. (SPACFI), a partner of Caritas Australia.

He spoke about Caritas College’s contributions to Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion and just how much their generosity has helped in the Philippines.

Father Timoner said Project Compassion has helped two development projects for poor people in the Philippines.

“The first one was a Caritas Australia project that provided livelihood projects for the poor people, so they are able to generate more income for themselves, thereby they are able to live a better life,” he said.

“The other one is all about disaster preparedness and risk reduction because the Philippines is usually visited by strong typhoons, especially during this climate change.”

Caritas Australia has helped Filipino communities along the coastline with mangrove reforestation.

“This protects them from the strong winds that come in during typhoon season and also the big waves,” Father Tonette said.

“The mangroves will also provide spawning grounds for fish. Fishing is part of the livelihood of the people.”

Two of the 60 Project Compassion stories in 2017 are from the Philippines in Father Tonette’s working area.

Father Tonette is in Australia for just under three weeks, visiting several cities and rural towns including Melbourne, Adelaide, Jamestown, Whyalla, Quorn and Port Augusta.

“I’ve been doing the rounds of the different schools and parishes. People have been very supportive of Project Compassion over the years,” he said.

“The project has become self-sufficient and the people really have broken out of the cycles of poverty.”

Caritas College helped raise funds for Project Compassion on Shrove Tuesday with the help of nine Adelaide Crows players.