A collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff from a number of Catholic agencies in the Brisbane Archdiocese and the Toowoomba Diocese has resulted in the production of a resource kit for the National Day of Healing (May 26) and for National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3).
The resource kit, using the theme of National Reconciliation Week 2005, Reconciliation – Take the Next Step, was launched in Brisbane today.
Agencies which worked on the kit included Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and Murri Ministry Team, Toowoomba’s Catholic Social Justice Commission and Catholic Education Office, and the Edmund Rice Indigenous Ministry Unit.
The kit contains liturgy and prayer resources for use by parishes, schools and groups as well as background information on issues such as the Stolen Generations and the Stolen Wages Campaign.
The Executive Officer of Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Peter Arndt, said that the team of people who put the kit together wants to encourage members of the Church to work for reconciliation as a significant priority.
“Since the great bridge walks of 2000, reconciliation seems to have disappeared from the national stage as a high priority,” Mr Arndt said.
“Many Australians demonstrated a firm commitment to national reconciliation back then, but true reconciliation will not happen until our nation has addressed the many injustices experienced by Indigenous people and their serious disadvantage is overcome,” he said.
“While Indigenous people remain at the bottom of the pile in terms of health, education, employment and housing, we do not have reconciliation in Australia,” he said.
“While the legacy of thousands of Indigenous children being forcibly removed from their families persists, there is no reconciliation,” he said.
“While we have Governments who refuse to fairly compensate Indigenous people for wages taken from them and used for other purposes, genuine reconciliation still eludes us,” he added.
“As the late Pope John Paul II said after meeting with the Bishops of Oceania in 2001, facing up to the truth about what happened to Indigenous people is the first step to healing and reconciliation.”
“If we are to face up to the truth about the unjust treatment of Aborigines, it will exact a cost on non-Indigenous Australians, but we must accept this if we are to experience the peace and happiness which comes with reconciliation.”
The kit is endorsed by Archbishop Bathersby of Brisbane, Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, and a number of Indigenous representatives.
It has been distributed to parishes and schools in both diocese.
Released by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane