National News

National Reconciliation Week: In this together

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Mission Team  
 
Each year, National Reconciliation Week marks two important dates in our nation’s history: the 1967 Referendum where more than 90 per cent of Australians voted to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the national census and give the Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the High Court Mabo decision which recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to the land.
 
Celebrated from 27 May – 3 June each year, Reconciliation Week is an important occasion for all Australians; a time when we can all reflect on how we can positively contribute to reconciliation in our own communities and how we can build relationships that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their unique gifts and stories.
 
The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week is: In this together. Over recent weeks and months, it has been heartening to see a newfound appreciation of how our community can work together to achieve the common good.
 
Our Catholic understanding of reconciliation – being reconciled to God and to each other – gifts us with a unique appreciation of the need for healing in this area. We know that only when true reconciliation has been achieved, can we truly flourish. As Pope John Paul II said in his address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, “You are part of Australia and Australia is part of you. And the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.” (Alice Springs, 1986)
 
The task may seem vast – and indeed it is – but there are many ways we can each meaningfully contribute towards reconciliation being achieved.
 
Here are some ways you can celebrate National Reconciliation Week in your parish, home and family:
 
  • Spend some time looking over the National Reconciliation Week website. It provides many useful tools and resources about reconciliation and how it can be achieved.
  • View the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry website. There is a wealth of resources available, including many useful tools for schools and parishes.
  • Read Reconciliation stories from ordinary Melbourne Catholics just like you, on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
  • Light a candle daily with your family, friends or fellow parishioners and pray for reconciliation to be achieved. We know it is only ultimately God who can show us the path to true reconciliation.
  • Start a Fire Carriers Group in your school. Learn more here.
  • Read Pope John Paul II’s address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here
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