• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 28 June 2019 10:07

Santa Teresa community gathers trackside to celebrate Eucharist

 

Prakash Finke Mass 2019 congregation 450When the small Central Australian community of Santa Teresa empties out every year on the Sunday of the June long weekend as the residents head out to watch all the action of the Finke Desert Race, Fr Prakash Menezes SVD knows exactly what to do – he takes Mass to the people, trackside.

The tradition started about 10 or 12 years ago, long before Fr Prakash arrived, but he is happy to keep it going.

“We do have Mass here in Santa Teresa on Saturday night for the people who wish to attend, especially for the elderly who don’t go to the race, but on Sunday, we take Mass to where the people are,” he says.

The Finke Desert Race has the reputation of being one of the most difficult off-road courses in one of the most remote places in the world. It is open to cars, buggies, quads and motorbikes and takes place over two days.

“It’s a really important event in the Alice Springs calendar,” says Fr Prakash. “About 6000 people come into Alice for it.”

Santa Teresa, which is a small Aboriginal community about 80km from Alice Springs, is about 50km away from the Finke track.

Prakash celebrating Mass trackside at Finke 250For the last two years, the community has had a personal interest in the race, with two of its young men, Terrence and Jason, taking part in the gruelling race on their motorbikes.

“The people from Santa Teresa head to a place called Double Tank to watch the race go by,” Fr Prakash says. “There’s not much there except two big water tanks along the track.

“In the morning we make a fire and cook things like damper, potatoes, and kangaroo tails in coals and we cheer on our boys on their motorbikes as they go past and then everyone comes back and we get ready for Mass at about 2pm.

“This year it was extra special, because it was Pentecost.”

Fr Prakash says the people of Santa Teresa are all Catholic and they take their faith seriously. They are also used to celebrating Mass in the outdoors, which is meaningful for them culturally.

“In Santa Teresa we have home Masses every week in people’s yards,” he says. “So this Mass at Double Tank is a similar set-up. We pull up rows of camp chairs and a table for an altar, with all the appropriate liturgical coverings and things.

“It is a real family feeling. The people here aren’t into big cathedrals and great choirs. Their culture relates well to celebrating Mass outdoors. Aboriginal people are outdoors people, so this makes more sense to them. It touches upon their spirituality.

“Faith is important for the people of Santa Teresa and instead of forcing them to come back from the race for Mass, we go to where they are.

“It’s a great tradition now. Everybody asks, ‘Father, is Mass going to be trackside this year?’

“We do also get quite a few curious onlookers which is great. Everyone is welcome.”

PHOTOS by Sr Liz Wiemers sgs