The Archdiocese of Brisbane has unveiled the second iteration of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which covers the period 2023 – 2025.
A RAP is a strategic document containing practical actions that drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates.
The revised plan has been endorsed by the Canberra based peak body Reconciliation Australia.
It is categorised as an ‘Innovate RAP’, which allows organisations to gain a deeper understanding of their own sphere of influence, and to establish the best approach to advancing reconciliation.
The refreshed RAP covers all agencies, parishes and communities within the Archdiocese, who are being encouraged again to read, absorb and implement the action plan in their local settings.
It starts from the premise that building strong relationships with First Nations peoples is necessary for the local church to credibly witness to the Gospel.
To this end, Archdiocesan agencies, parishes and schools must seek opportunities to build on the participation rate of First Nations peoples, either through paid employment and volunteerism, or by engaging external services and resources from businesses which employ First Nations peoples.
To ensure greater inclusion, a respect for and recognition of First Nations peoples, through the sharing of cultural ways, language and a knowledge of the diversity of their societies/nations, should be built into any activities or planning.
As leader of the local church, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has been a strong proponent of integrating the cultural gifts of First Nations peoples more fully into the life of the Archdiocese.
These hopes, both in terms of strategy and intent, were first set in motion with the launch of the initial Archdiocesan RAP in November 2020.
They were further cemented by his acceptance and endorsement of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in September 2021.
The latest iteration of the RAP continues the Archdiocesan commitment to promoting reconciliation, something it views as good for the whole nation.
Speaking at an inaugural Archdiocesan Reconciliation Dinner on September 14, during which the latest RAP was launched, Archbishop Mark said it was a remarkable achievement and the fruit of a long journey.
“It hasn’t just popped out of nowhere in the last few years, but rather has very, very deep roots and is also the work of many hands and hearts,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“The RAP is about concrete action, to try and build bridges and knock down walls certainly, but also to try and get beneath symptoms, to tackle causes.
“As long as you’re tackling just the symptoms, they will recur endlessly; and that is the ongoing tragedy of our First Peoples’ dispossession and disadvantage.
“So we are trying to get beneath the symptoms to tackle the cause, knowing that this is an issue that goes to the very heart of the nation.
“And we commit ourselves to the action which takes concrete shape in the RAP, therefore I have great pleasure, indeed the honour, of declaring this latest iteration well and truly launched,” he said.
You can view the latest version of the Brisbane Archdiocesan RAP here.
Watch Archbishop Mark Coleridge launch the second iteration of the RAP here.