• 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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Monday, 29 June 2020 10:09

Walking forward 'Together in the Spirit'

 

Fr Asaeli Raass profile pic 150Dear Friends,

‘Together in the Spirit’ is the theme of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday this year (Sunday, July 5), and what a perfect theme it is as we all emerge slowly from this period of COVID-19 isolation.

We might still be maintaining our social distance and our gatherings are still only small, but as Australians and as Christians, we are ‘Together in Spirit’ – something my recent years as a missionary in Central Australia really emphasised for me.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Sunday is a special day designated by our bishops, to celebrate our indigenous brothers and sisters and to ask ourselves how are we doing as a Church in honouring and including indigenous life in our parishes and communities.

Alice Springs smoking ceremony Raass 350We remember well the words of St John Paul II to indigenous Australians when he visited Alice Springs in 1986: “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.”

How well are we doing in living up to that beautiful and yet challenging statement? My own personal experience tells me that important steps forward are being made, but there is much more still to do in terms of indigenous Catholics making their contribution to the life of the Church and that contribution being joyfully received by others.

That’s why I love the theme of ‘Together in the Spirit’. We can and must do all we can to make St John Paul’s statement a lived reality, but also, we have to realise that we don’t do it alone. We are all joined in the Holy Spirit and the Spirit continually breathes new life.

It used to be that missionaries were perceived as ‘taking God’ to people who had not encountered Jesus Christ. Today, missionaries know that they are instead sent to ‘discover God’ already present in the people.

I have been privileged to have listened to and learned from Aboriginal people – theologians, elders, artists and others – who have shown me, through the Dreamtime stories, how God was made known to the Aboriginal people tens of thousands of years before any missionaries arrived. The Holy Spirit moved through this Great South Land from the beginning and unites us, guides us, and energises us today.

It is my prayer that on this National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday we can truly be united in the Spirit and that through the Spirit we can continue working for the full inclusion of our indigenous brothers and sisters in the life of the Church and the life of the nation. The Closing the Gap reports continue to paint a dismal picture when it comes to the huge differences in education, employment, health, and life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council to rethink the ways in which it empowers Catholics to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. By modifying resources to work in a digital setting, NATSICC is also holding the first-ever live-streamed, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Mass from the St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Adelaide from 11am EST. They are inviting everyone around Australia - and the World - to join them on 5 July 2020, as we come ‘Together in the Spirit’ to celebrate the gifts of spirituality and culture.

Yours in the Word,

Fr Asaeli Rass,

Provincial.