Donella Brown, Director Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Perth, speaks during the 2022 NATSICC Conference in Townsville. Photo: Neil Helmore/Diocese of Townsville
The Catholic community of Australia’s First Nations people have last month 19 – 23 September come together at St Patrick’s College Townville for the 2022 National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) Assembly.
Focussing on the theme, “Holy Spirit in this Land”, the NATSICC Assembly invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics and other community groups to gather and discuss prominent issues.
Archdiocese of Perth Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Director Donella Brown offered her reflection.
Donella Brown writes that as people gathered on the first day, there was a collective sigh that at last, we were here gathering, renewing friendships, and carrying on the tradition of storytelling and celebrating our Catholic faith and Aboriginal Culture. Photo: Neil Helmore/Diocese of Townsville.
“The 2022 NATSICC Assembly was held in Townsville on the land of the Bindal and Wulgurukaba people.
In the four years leading up to this Assembly, like everything during the pandemic, there were delays and uncertainty.
As people gathered on the first day, there was a collective sigh that at last, we were here gathering, renewing friendships, and carrying on the tradition of storytelling and celebrating our Catholic faith and Aboriginal Culture.
The week commenced the Queensland delegates leading the Smoking and Welcome to Country Ceremony, followed by the Opening Mass.
Each day was started with a prayer or liturgy to honour our commitment to the Catholic faith.
The Western Australia delegates were involved in the Thursday Healing liturgy with the healing ritual being led by Madeine from Bidyadanga; Elizabeth Lulu from Mulan; and Jeanie and Kathie O’Reerie from Wyndham.
Thursday had a youth focus with another WA delegate, Vincent McKenzie from Djarindjin Lombadina school using a short video presentation about “Caring for Country” that was produced with the help of the students in his language and culture classes.
Shannon Thorne was also another impressive youth voice.
Focussing on the theme, “Holy Spirit in this Land”, the NATSICC Assembly invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics and other community groups to gather and discuss prominent issues. Photo: Neil Helmore/Diocese of Townsville.
His work, which is mentoring youth in Liverpool NSW, focusses on intergenerational strengths of youth and family.
This gives a greater positive perspective on how youth and others view the world that they live in.
It concentrates on the intergenerational strengths that are important and have given families the resilience to survive, despite the history and past hurts suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
During the five days we heard from a range of speakers on topics that ranged from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Spirituality; giving clarity the importance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and future actions for all Australians; what future Aboriginal and Torres Strait leadership looks like in the Catholic church; and conversations on Laudato Si. All these talks were processed through yarning circles and workshops so that all delegates had the opportunity to comment.
The week ended with an address by Bishop Tim Harris, a video reflection of the week and a closing Mass lead by the Victorian delegates.”
Townsville Bishop Tim Harris, sixth from left, with Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci, fourth from left and fellow clergy and NATSICC Assembly representatives following Mass at the 19-23 September Assembly. Photo: Neil Helmore/Diocese of Townsville.
More to come in next week’s edition of The eRecord