• 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

  • 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

  • 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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Tuesday, 28 July 2015 17:32

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday – a celebration of faith and culture

Alice-Springs---testimony2---Carmel---350Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Alice Springs celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday earlier this month with a Mass which was deeply imbued with the culture of the Arrernte people of Central Australia.

Parish Priest, Fr Asaeli Raass SVD, says the Mass was a great celebration of faith and culture, drawing from the theme for NAIDOC Week: “We all stand on Sacred Ground”.

“We began with a smoking ceremony and a welcome to country, where the traditional elders welcomed everyone to Arrernte land,” Fr Raass says.

“And then, for the Penitential Rite we had a water cleansing rite. This is a very meaningful symbolic ceremony, because in Central Australia, of course, there is a shortage of water, so it is very meaningful to use it in this way to represent the cleansing of our sins.”

Alice-Springs---Leonie-testimony---350Fr Raass says the water was held in a Coolamon, a traditional wooden bowl made from the bark of a tree and decorated with a dot painting.

“For the local indigenous people, water is also a sign of peace and providence. They know that where the water is, there is the promise of food, of bush tucker,” he says.

During the Mass, Fr Raass says a fire was lit right in the middle of the congregation, representing God, the Holy Spirit, giving them warmth and cleansing them.

“That fire smoked during the Mass, from beginning to end,” he says.

The celebration also featured faith testimonies from two elders, Carmel Ryan and Leonie Palmer.

“They were very inspiring in what they said,” Fr Raass says. “It came straight from the heart – a real heart to heart talk, and it was so powerful.

“They talked about the struggles of their people and took us back on the journey of the Arrernte people during the Second World War and how they ended up at Santa Teresa and how Government policy meant they were not allowed to be in town after 6pm.

“So they shared the struggles and the hard aspects of life that they faced, but they also spoke beautifully of the joys and the improvements that have come here and there.

Alice-Springs---congregation---350“And they talked about the importance of ministry with young people, how to get them engaged again with the Church, because there are a lot of temptations coming in, including drugs and alcohol, unemployment is very high and there is a very high level of anxiety among young people.”

After the two testimonies, the congregation sang the Lamb of God and the Aboriginal ‘Our Father’.

Fr Raass says he and his assistant priests are starting to celebrate Mass more in the Arrernte people’s own language now.

“It’s a hard language, but when Pope John Paul II came to Alice Springs in 1986, he challenged the Catholic Church in Australia to assist the Aboriginal people to hear the Word of God in their own language,” he says.

“We’re gradually getting there. Its hard work, but we’re getting there.”

After Mass, the celebration concluded with a barbecue for the whole parish.

Fr Raass, along with Aboriginal Chaplain Fr Olivier Noclam SVD, and assistant priest Fr Prakash Menezes SVD also attended part or all of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council conference in Darwin, which, along with the NAIDOC theme, took the extra sub-theme of: “The Heart of Jesus beats within us all”.