The Catholic Weekly 3 May 2020

$2 They will go a long way to ensuring the viability of fragile charitable work in these difficult times and is good news for the Society’s ... members ...” Toby O’Connor, St Vincent de Paul Society CATHOLIC CHARITIES, par- ishes and religious institutes which would have struggled to continue to remain viable during the coronavirus pan- demic have a much-needed reprieve after changes to the Federal Government’s Job- Keeper program. After legislation passed early in April, registered char- ities which had recorded a drop in income of 15 per cent or more were eligible for the $1,500 a fortnight payment. But a number of large organ- isations such as St Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic So- cial Services Australia which receive much of their revenue from government funding and grants did not pass the turnover test needed to ac- cess JobKeeper. The Church’s priests and members of religious orders were also ineligible to receive assistance. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on 24 April that some larger char- ities and religious organisa- tions will now have the option to use either their total turn- over, or their turnover ex- cluding government funding when applying to access the payment. Regarding clergy and members of religious or- ders, Churches and religious institutions would also be- come eligible in recognition that “many religious practi- tioners are not ‘employees’ of their religious institutions”, he said. The Government’s As- sistant Minister for Charities Senator Zed Seselja told The Catholic Weekly that the Gov- ernment was “very pleased” to be able to make the needed adjustments. “Those grants, for exam- ple, are usually just passed on by the charities to those who need it, and it complicated their turnover reduction be- cause it made it look like the money coming in for them to be able to employ staff and provide services is higher than it actually is,” Senator Seselja said. “We also listened to the concerns of religious groups such as churches who need- ed to support priests and re- ligious so we changed some of the tests for that as well so that they would be able to ac- cess JobKeeper. “We know that the Catholic Church and other churches are a big part of the welfare sector, and really value that partnership and the jobs and CONTINUED P2 Lifeline to charities Federal measure sees charitable groups ineligible for JobKeeper allowance now able to receive it ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues FR BERNIE Thomas is knit- ting up a storm to help those in troubled waters. The parish priest from Mary Immaculate at Waverley is making beanies to be included in care packages for the thou- sands of seafarers trapped on ships coming into Sydney wa- ters. The appeal, established by seafarer’s chaplain Sr Mary Le- ahy, is calling for urgent dona- tions of personal hygiene prod- ucts including shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, deodorant and razors as well as knitted beanies and chocolates for the exhausted sailors currently stranded on ships off Port Bot- any due to the coronavirus. Fr Bernie thinks it’s a ‘purl-er’ of an idea and has cast on to get behind SrMary and the appeal. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 ¾ ¾ Debbie Cramsie Casting on to help those in need 3, May, 2020 IT’S MAY: TURN TO THE ROSARY GIVING INFERTILITY A VOICE TO SPEAK P12 P24 Compassionate, holistic aged care, delivered with Catholic values. 1800 778 767 | [email protected] | If your loved one needs additional support, talk to us – one of Australia’s leading Catholic aged care and retirement living specialists. Knitting pretty … Fr Bernie Thomas with students from St Charles primary school before the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO: ALPHONSUS FOK