Deputy Principal - Mission & Faith

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday – 3 July 2016

Just two Sundays ago the Catholic Church celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.  2016 is the 30th anniversary of St Pope John Paul II visit to the Aboriginal people in Alice Springs. It is a long standing tradition in the Australian Catholic Church that we dedicate the first Sunday in July to these peoples.  In his reflection on this Sunday the Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane, Bishop Joseph Oudemann said:

“…let us remember and acknowledge again that for thousands of years before the arrival of Western settlers, the sole inhabitants of this vast land were Indigenous peoples:  Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.  In a real sense the settlers were invaders in this land which was named “terra nullius”, the land which was deemed to belong to no one!  Many injustices and atrocities have been committed against the Indigenous people of the land since.”

[Text Box: This logo of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council depicts a willy willy, the wind force in the centre a symbol God’s Spirit. The round concentric circles at the top symbolise God and Life, the base depicts men and women receiving the Holy Spirit.] Bishop Joseph then points to the National Apology to the Stolen Generations (2008) as a key moment in history but then says that the challenge of reconciliation and bring healing requires fortitude, wisdom and patience.

Here at Salesian College we take very seriously our role in welcoming all, especially our Indigenous brothers and sisters.  We Acknowledge the Traditional Owners of our Land at Whole School Assemblies, we devote resources within the Learning Strategies Department to enhance the learning of our Indigenous students and look for opportunities to further their inclusion into all aspects of Australian life.  One such example is the annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Students in Catholic Schools Gathering.  This event is held in July at the Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute.  This is held in conjunction with NAIDOC Week which this year has as its theme:  Songlines: the living narrative of our nation.  Our Indigenous students always attend and enjoy this event immensely.

 

 

      This logo of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
      Catholic Council depicts a willy willy, the wind force in the centre a
      symbol God’s Spirit.  The round concentric circles at the top
       symbolise God and Life, the base depicts men and women
      receiving the Holy Spirit.

 



I offer you this beautiful prayer as one small opportunity to reflect on our relationship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters:

Father of all, you gave us the Dreaming.

You have spoken to us through our beliefs.

You then made your love clear to us

in the person of Jesus.

We thank you for your care.

You own us.

You are our hope.

 

Make us strong as we face the problems of change.

We ask you to help the people of Australia

to listen to us and respect our culture.

Make the knowledge of you

grow strong in all people,

so that we can make a home

for everyone in our land.

 

Amen.