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Darwin Diocese

The Divine Word Missionaries have answered a call from the Bishop of Darwin to live, work and minister with a number of local communities, including Alice Springs, Santa Teresa, the Tiwi Islands, and Daly River.

This ministry includes in a special way the indigenous peoples of those communities, as well as the people of many different cultures and backgrounds who have settled in Alice Springs and surrounds.

Fr Prakash Menezes SVD celebrates Mass in Central Australia The SVD cares for parishes in Alice Springs Santa Teresa Uluru and other outlying areas. 550

Central Australia

For the last 25 years, the SVD have enjoyed the pastoral care of the communities of Our Lady of Sacred Heart Parish Alice Springs and the Santa Teresa Parish, about 90km outside Alice Springs. We also play a role in the pastoral care of Catholic school teachers and other employees of the Darwin Diocese.

Prakash receives stole in Alice 650Our vision for the Central Australia District is that:

We, Divine Word Missionaries, commit to incarnate ourselves into the social, spiritual and cultural realities of Northern Territory in imitation of Jesus, the Word made flesh.

We do this to help the local church become a true Sacrament of Unity to the wider community of Australia.

The Society of the Divine Word sees its mission in Central Australia as having the following dimensions:

  • We are bridge builders between different ethnic communities of the local church.
  • We have preferential option for the physical, social, cultural, environmental and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal Catholics of Northern Territory.
  • We work ecumenically with our brothers and sisters of other Christian traditions and followers of other religions.
  • All of the above will stand or fall on our ability to develop our personal and communal SVD spiritual growth.
  • We will work towards creating an SVD Centre / house in Northern Territory SVD District for the promotion of our SVD Characteristic Dimensions and spiritual formation keeping our indigenous people as the focus point of our ministry.

Our activities in Central Australia include:

  • Providing sacramental and other spiritual opportunities;
  • Conducting faith formation and catechesis;
  • Bible study and sharing group in the parish;
  • Supporting Catholic schools in their ministries;
  • Working closely with Catholic institutions such as St Vincent de Paul Society and CatholicCare, particularly in attending to the needs of poor and marginalized people;
  • Supporting and participating in common activities with other religious groups in Central Australia;
  • Working closely with the Diocese of Darwin in producing and living out the Diocesan Pastoral Plan;
  • Supporting the ongoing development of a youth/young adult group;
  • Giving special attention to the spiritual needs of multicultural groups in the parish, including the Malayalam/Indian, Filipino, South Pacific, American and African groups;
  • Visiting the local hospital, clinic and nursing homes;
  • Attending to the specific needs of the Aboriginal people through regular visits to their homes, town camps and remote communities;
  • Visiting and conducting prayer services in Alice Springs Prison;
  • Working with Nungalinya College Darwin in promoting biblical studies as well as media studies programs for indigenous people;
  • Helping our young SVD confreres in the Cross-Cultural Training Programs or their Overseas Training Programs.

Campervan at Alice Springs sign 550 

Fr Prakash Menezes SVD (pictured above) is Parish Priest at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Alice Springs. Fr Olivier Noclam SVD (also pictured above) is Parish Priest at Santa Teresa Parish Community (pictured below). Fr Alfonsus Nahak SVD is the Arrernte Catholic Chaplain, ministering to the sacramental and pastoral needs of the Arrernte Aboriginal people in and around Central Australia. Fr Alfonsus is located at the SVD's Logos Spirituality Centre in Ross, NT. Thanks to generous donations, the SVD has also acquired a campervan (pictured above) to allow the missionaries to spend longer periods of time with the outlying Aboriginal communities.


Santa Teresa 70th anniversary Mass steps 550

Tiwi Islands

In 2022 the Divine Word Missionaries accepted an invitation from Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci to take up the pastoral care of the people of the Tiwi Islands. Provincial, Fr Asaeli Rass SVD said it was the existing relationship between the SVD and the Diocese of Darwin which fostered the invitation to take on the ministry in Bathurst and Melville Islands, off Darwin. Fr Niran Veigas SVD is Parish Priest of the Church of Our Lady of Peace in Wurrumiyanga (Bathurst Island). The SVD also has pastoral care for the people at Pirlangimpi (Melville Island). Fr Hung Nguyen SVD is also assigned to the Tiwi Islands.

Palm Sunday 2023 Niran Bp Charles Hung 550


Daly River

In late 2023 the Divine Word Missionaries took up the pastoral care of communities in Daly River in the Northern Territory, in a move which further demonstrates the SVD’s commitment to ministry with indigenous peoples.

Daly River, or Nauiyu, is situated 230km south of Darwin and 250km north-west of Katherine. 

The two priests appointed to Daly River are both from Indonesia. Fr Daniel Polla SVD and Fr Rius Baku Salu SVD have prepared for their new assignment by undertaking interculturality programs both with the SVD and the Diocese of Darwin. They are pictured below (far left and centre) with Bishop Charles Gauci and members of the parish community on the day of their installation.

Fr Daniel Polla and Fr Rius Salu with Bp Charles Gauci installation at Daly River Dec 2023 550

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