Catholic Mission is committed to working hand-in-hand with Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples, by creating pathways of understanding and collaboration. With synodality as a critical principle to our approach, we aim to create a space where we all stand united. You will find on this page some resources including facilitation guides, Dean Parkin’s keynote address at our recent Mission Conference, examples of our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, our Reconciliation Action Plan and our Statement on the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Voice to Parliament.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Catholic Mission established its RAP Working Group in July 2020 to come together and begin thinking about the best approach to developing a RAP for the organisation.

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Catholic Mission supports the work of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC). NATSICC is the peak advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics. NATSICC is represented by a member of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministry from each state and territory.

Visit the NATSICC website

The Uluru Statment

As the largest consensus of First Nations peoples on a proposal for substantive recognition in Australian history, the road to the Uluru Statement from the Heart is a long one even without mentioning the decades of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism that came before it.

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Truth Telling and Reconciliation. Mr Dean Parkin

Listening to Many Voices from the Heart. Dean Parkin shares his story at the Mission: one heart many voices conference.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart and Voice to Parliament Statement

There continues to be significant comment in the media and in the community generally about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and now the forthcoming referendum on constitutional changes to establish a Voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We acknowledge and respect a diversity of views and that people of goodwill may come to different conclusions.

Catholic Mission stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is always willing to support initiatives that promote their spiritual, material and social well-being. We are proud of our partnership with the National Catholic and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council and the initiative currently being piloted to establish the stable ministry of catechist among local communities.

In 1986, Pope St John Paul II in Alice Springs shared:

… 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.

In 2016 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the visit of Pope St John Paul II to Alice Springs, Pope Francis shared:

This anniversary affords me the happy opportunity to express my deep esteem for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for your ancient cultural heritage. Uniting my voice to that of Saint John Paul II, I encourage you in his words: "Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost." For when you share the noble traditions of your community, you also witness to the power of the Gospel to perfect and purify every society, and in this way God's holy will is accomplished.

A conscientious approach to the referendum will involve a discernment of what will best promote the flourishing of Indigenous culture and the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.

Creating a Space for Engagement and Leadership in Central Australia

Key to the missionary spirit is to spend time with people, to get to know them by listening with an open mind and heart, and by creating space for engagement. This has been a particular challenge for missionary priests working with Aboriginal communities in remote parts of the Northern Territory.

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