• 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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Wednesday, 30 October 2019 11:48

First of its kind Arrernte stained glass window unveiled for Jubilee


Alice Springs jubilee window 450The Alice Springs community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church and 90 years of Catholic sacramental life in Central Australia recently with the unveiling of a new stained glass window depicting Jesus and Mary in Aboriginal art.

The huge window, based on the painting of local Arrernte woman Kathleen Wallace, was unveiled during a special ceremony on Saturday, October 12. The jubilee celebrations continued on Sunday, with a Mass celebrated by Bishop of Darwin Charles Gauci.

Parish Priest, Fr Asaeli Raass SVD, says the weekend of celebrations was a long time in the planning.
“Yes, the Parish Council and Finance Committee, the Foundation Team and the Hospitality Team planned it all together over the last year or so,” Fr Raass says.

“It involved renovating the Church with the special feature being the unveiling of the window dedicated to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart sisters who worked and persevered in Central Australia since the arrival of Fr James Long MSC in the 1920s.

“And now we, as Divine Word Missionaries, have come and we build on their strength and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Fr Raass says the unveiling of the window was a special day for the Arrernte people.

“It was very special and very moving, for the Arrernte people to be telling their story at the centre of this western church,” he says.

“The church is built on their traditional dancing ground and it was very special for the women to dance there again after 50 years. I have never seen them dance together like that and I found it very moving.”

The new stained glass window, with its distinctive Aboriginal depiction of Jesus and Mary has managed to bridge two cultures, Fr Raass says.

Cuttng of Alice Springs jubilee cake 2019 450“If people go into the church now they know they are in Central Australia and not in a Cathedral in Sydney or Melbourne,” he says.

“And yet, it is also clearly Catholic. Just a beautiful depiction of Our Lady and Jesus and the Sacred Heart.”

Fr Raass says the window painting was a gift to the parish from the Eastern Central Arrernte Catholics.

“It’s part of our ongoing process of reconciliation and dialogue with the spiritualities of the First Peoples of the land, involving their art, craft, storylines and how they understand God. It’s not an easy process, but we believe it’s crucial,” he says.

“The artist, Kathleen Wallace, told me that she was so moved when she saw the window in place because she finally felt at home in a western style building. Because in the Arrernte depiction of Jesus and Mary they see themselves in the story of salvation history.”

Mrs Wallace told the ABC that she drew on her traditions to design the painting.

“I thought about how my ancestors taught me, their beliefs, and I remembered how they celebrated God in their own way,” she said.

Parishioners relaxing after Alice jubilee celebrations 450“I feel so happy to see it because this is my first stained glass, and I’m so happy to give it to the parish and all of the Arrernte people of this land.”

The Jubilee Mass on Sunday, October 13, was also historically significant, with Bishop Charles Gauci delivering an apology on behalf of the Diocese of Darwin and past missionaries for past mistakes.

“It was apologising for all the misunderstandings and ways we have not treated the people well, or haven’t seen them on the streets,” Fr Raass says.

“A jubilee is about remembering the past, which means saying sorry for all the stuff-ups. It’s about acknowledging that in the past, the Arrernte people weren’t encouraged to keep their language and culture, and while the missionaries of the past tried their best, we have different understandings of culture now and we can move forward in a different direction.

“There’s still a long road ahead, but hopefully, with small steps like this, we will be able to all move forward together.”


PHOTOS: (from OLSH Parish Alice Springs Facebook)

TOP RIGHT: The new stained glass window in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church in Alice Springs, featuring an Arrerente depiction of Jesus and Mary.

MIDDLE LEFT: The cutting of the Jubilee cake.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Some parishioners relaxing together during the Jubilee celebrations.