Society Matters | Volume 34 No. 1 | Autumn 2024

Volume 34 No. 1 | Autumn 2024 8 Society Matters “Our parish covers about 600km in diameter,” he says. “In the north, we are almost bordering with Tennant Creek; to the south we go to Uluru; almost to the Queensland border in the east, and the WA border in the west. “The community of Yuendumu is about 300km away and Harts Range is 250km away in the other direction. The SVD has also recently taken up the pastoral care of the Daly River community in the Darwin Diocese. A special appeal for the purchase of the campervan and utility vehicle raised about $31,000. This month, Fr Prakash and Fr Ollie drove the utility vehicle to Coffs Harbour where it was fitted with the campervan and then drove all the way back to Alice Springs in it, where it is now ready for use in ministry. “We’re so thankful to everyone who donated,” Fr Ollie says. Campervan hits the road to help missionaries in outback ministry With the help of generous donors and partners in mission, the Divine Word Missionaries have finally taken delivery of a small campervan which will allow the missionaries in Central Australia to stay with outlying Aboriginal communities for longer periods. Previously, the missionaries have driven hundreds of kilometres to be with the people in those communities, but often, after celebrating Mass or other sacraments, they have to turn around and make the long drive back to Alice Springs again. “We have about 12 Aboriginal communities outside of Alice Springs and they don’t have a place for us to stay, so having the campervan means we could go and really spend time with the people, instead of just coming and going,” says Fr Olivier Noclam SVD, Parish Priest at Santa Teresa. “For us, it is really important to be with the people and spend time with them, getting to know them and their culture and their way of life. The campervan will also assist a new initiative for Central Australia which is a collaboration with Catholic Mission, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), the SVD and the Diocese of Darwin, to have a lay prayer leader or catechist in these outlying communities, as authorised recently by Pope Francis. “The priest will have to stay in the community and provide formation and support for this person, so we will need to have somewhere to stay,” Fr Ollie says. Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Alice Springs, Fr Prakash Menezes SVD, says the campervan would provide a new way of being with the people in the far reaches of the vast parish. A Newsletter of the Divine Word Missionaries Inc - Australia Province Donations to the SVD AUS Province Overseas Aid Fund can be made online at or by mailing to Divine Word Missionary Appeal Office, Locked Bag 3, Epping NSW, 1710, Australia. +61 2 9868 9015 @svdaus Society Matters Fr Prakash and Fr Ollie arrive in Alice Springs with the campervan