Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission called on parishes, schools, Church bodies and agencies to continue to play their part in promoting reconciliation in Australia.
It did so as it launched a kit of resources for National Sorry Day (May 26) and National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3).
The kit was prepared in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Murri Ministry Team and Edmund Rice Indigenous Ministries Unit in Brisbane.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission is committed to encouraging further efforts to build on work already done within the Archdiocese to promote reconciliation.
“Reconciliation and justice for Indigenous Australians continues to be the Commission’s highest priority and it is deeply involved in work to develop stronger relationships with Indigenous communities and organisations,” Mr Arndt said.
“We have worked with the Murri Ministry Team to promote and support the Pass It On Message Stick Relay in which many parishes, schools and agencies are involved,” he said.
“We hope that this relay, which focuses attention on Pope John Paul’s address to Indigenous people in Alice Springs twenty years ago, will lead to a renewed commitment to reconciliation in every part of the Archdiocese,” he said.
“It would be a wonderful witness to the Gospel if the Message Stick results in many new initiatives to bring peace and reconciliation in our land,” he said.
“Developing relationships of respect with Indigenous people and communities must be at the foundation of our work for reconciliation,” he said.
“Reconciliation is fostered when we commit ourselves to collaborative relationships instead of imposing ready-made ‘solutions’,” he said.
“Above all, we need to understand that respectful relationships can only be developed with a commitment to truth as Pope Benedict made clear when he spoke of Australia’s Indigenous people in his address to Australia’s new Ambassador to the Holy See last week,” he said.
“Pope Benedict clearly places great importance on reconciliation as Pope John Paul II did,” he said.
“Apart from his words to Australia’s Ambassador to the Vatican, we also take note of the significance of his recent bestowal of a papal honour on the first Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue,” he said.
“A commitment to reconciliation won’t happen if we make a fuss about Aboriginal people in Reconciliation Week and on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, but forget about them for the rest of the year,” he said.
“These special times on our calendar develop real meaning and significance if they are celebrations of what we have done together over the year with Indigenous people to live the Gospel message of peace and reconciliation,” he said.
Mr Arndt said the Commission was planning further initiatives to help parishes, schools and agencies to build on what they had already achieved for reconciliation.
Released by the CJPC-Brisbane