Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Mark Edwards OMI led 400 people through the city for a “Walk of Witness” before the archdiocesan launch of the 2018-19 Social Justice Statement, A Place to Call Home. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
The 1.5 kilometre journey was a display of solidarity as Melbourne’s Church represented people experiencing homelessness and those for whom secure housing has yet to become a reality.
The Walk of Witness began at Federation Square and following the reading of the parable of The Good Samaritan, proceeded towards the steps of the Victorian Parliament before concluding at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
The majority of those joining Bishop Edwards were Catholic school students.
Before the group’s departure from Federation Square, Bishop Edwards said the event presented a unique opportunity for the young people in attendance to reflect on the issue of homelessness.
“A million Australians are either homeless, surf-couching or in apartments that are overcrowded, people who have housing stress. That’s one in 25 of us and it’s just wrong,” he said.
“Our brothers and sisters deserve to be able to have a place to sleep and we need that for our dignity.”
The penultimate stop on the walk was the steps of Parliament House, where students met with Victoria’s housing minister, Martin Foley, and the shadow minister, Georgie Crozier
Mr Foley called on Melbournians to act with greater compassion for those on the margins and said homelessness could be stopped.
“So many tens of thousands of people either rough sleeping or homeless every night is a stain on our collective conscience. We are capable of ending homelessness and we should be aiming to do that,” he said.
Thanking the students, Ms Crozier said, “Your work and your presence is very important for all of our community and we must do what we can as governments to assist those who have fallen on hard times and find themselves in this situation.”