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Thursday, 29 June 2023 18:15

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday calls us to 'A New Life in Christ'

Fr Asaeli Rass SVD profile pic 250The theme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday this year is ‘A New Life in Christ’.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council says the theme for this special day in the Church calendar, to be celebrated on Sunday, July 2, relates to “the transformative possibilities that come when we walk God’s Way of love”. What an invitation!

When we walk the way of love in our families, our workplaces, our faith communities, and yes, even in our national life, the possibilities are endless. If only the national discourse around the Voice to Parliament was being carried out through this lens of love.

Perhaps this is where we Christians, and indeed people of all faiths and all people of goodwill, can step into the debate on the Voice. If we look at the possibilities when we walk God’s Way of Love, we can’t help but share that hopeful view with others.

In this edition of ‘In the Word’ you will read about Fr Frank Brennan SJ’s recent visit to Townsville and Palm Island, during which he spoke to the local communities about the Voice. Having listened to Fr Frank’s explanation, Palm Island community leader Dianne Foster said that for her, the Voice brings hope that things can change for her people who have for so long lived the reality of disadvantage in education, health, life-span, unemployment, youth crime, and so much more. The Voice, she believes, will bring hope for a better future, because local voices will be heard.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday is a day for the whole Church in Australia to gather and pray in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, but also to listen to them and really hear their experience. It’s from this listening that hope can be born.

As NATSICC says: “At this time in Australia’s Reconciliation journey, we see signs of new life – the Uluru Statement’s invitation to walk together ‘for a better future’ is being taken up and its call to join in listening, truth-telling and agreement making is growing louder.

“Learning to listen to First Nations people tell their stories is important to understanding the truth about their lives, histories and hopes for the future. While there are common themes, particularly concerning the injustices First Nations Peoples have faced and continue to face, their stories are as unique as their Language and Cultures.”

May this Sunday be a time of listening, of transformation, of hope for a New Life in Christ together.

Yours in the Word,

Fr Asaeli Rass SVD,

Provincial.