PRAYERS WITH AN
Indigenous AUSTRALIAN FOCUS
Holy Father, God of Love,
You are the Creator of this land and of all good things.
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
and the sufferings of our peoples, and we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of indigenous cultures.
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus
to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive,
accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history
so that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.
Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities,
especially the disadvantaged.
Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.
May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our nation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prepared by Wontulp-Bi-Buya, the Indigenous Theology Working Group.
Prayer of the Aboriginal
Creator of all,
you gave us the Dreaming.
You have spoken to us
through our beliefs.
You then made your love clear to us
in the person of Jesus.
We thank you for your care.
You own us. You are our hope.
Make us strong as we face the
problems of change.
We ask you to help the people of
Australia to listen to us and
respect our culture.
Make the knowledge of you grow
in all people,
so that you can be at home in us
and we can make a home for
everyone in our land.
AN AUSTRALIAN CREED
We believe in God, creator and sustainer
creator of the black woman and the white
of the black man and the white man
of the woman who is not quite black and
not quite white
of the man who is not quite white and not
We believe in God, the Creator
who gave us the desert pea and the
the Murray cod and the platypus,
the Southern Cross and the Milky Way.
We believe in God,
who gave us a land to keep,
to reverence and to cultivate.
We believe in Jesus, born of a woman
who was not quite black and not quite
a woman who was not quite sure of who she
was or who she was to be,
a woman who faithfully struggled to
We believe in Jesus - risen,
liberator of all humanity,
We, women and men of the Great South Land
of the Holy Spirit,
believe in the power of the Spirit to set
us free to regenerate our land, to transform our world, to work for peace,
to listen to the loneliness of 'the
drover's wife' and the 'weeping man'.
We believe in the power of the Spirit to
transform our dealings with our sisters and our brothers of other colours and diverse
DADIRRI IS LISTENING
Dadirri is deep listening.
Listening to the land.
Listening to the spirit speaking through the land.
Listening to the stillness.
Dadirri is awareness of the land as sacred Silent
awareness of deep springs within me. I am the story of the land. I feel the harmony that is in the land.
My life is sacred.
A deep theme unfolding.
Dadirri makes me feel whole. Renews me and brings peace.
My life is new.
A DREAMING PRAYER
you created all things, seen and
listen to our silent prayer as we
stand here before you.
Our weary eyes look back over
distant horizons, back to those days where our people walked.
The footprints of our ancestors are
imprinted on the earth, and their images are real to us.
We see our grandfathers, standing tall
and strong, warriors of long ago.
We see our grandmothers, strong and
hard working women.
We hear them singing, we see them
dancing, and our spirits move within us.
They told of emus fighting, and the
kangaroos picking up the scent of our hunters …………
The images fade away as we feel the
hurt of our people.
We can hear the cries of our
grandmothers as they cry for their children.
Loving Creator, you can see us as we
stand here and feel this hurt.
Let us walk with you, loving Creator,
towards the dawning of a proud and new nation.
We thank you for our sacred being.
Why Gather Together?
Vince O'Rourke - Director of Catholic
Education (ret.) - Brisbane Archdiocese
We, members of the Catholic education community, gathered
together to celebrate reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians
he explains that the
Christian Church is like a body, with each person a part of the body. He explains that if
one part of the body is wounded, then the whole of the body suffers.
As members of the Catholic education community we recognise that
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have suffered as members of
Australian society, and, also within our Church.
The Holy Father, when visiting Alice Springs, said to Aboriginal
and Torres Strait peoples...
You are part of Australia and Australia is part of you. And
the Church herself in Australia will not fully be the Church that Jesus wants her
to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution
has been joyfully received by others. (Pope John Paul II, 29 November 1986)
We cannot fully be the people of God until we are reconciled
with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Nor can we fully be the people of God
until our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters overcome real
challenges and hurdles, whether faced within the Church or within society. We have much to
learn from our indigenous brothers and sisters about what it means to be spiritual people
living in Australia.
The relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous
Australians has been one often based on ignorance, discrimination and sin. Catholic
teaching recognises that sin is not always personal. Communities, societies and
nations can also sin through policies, institutions and practices that rob people of their
God-given rights and dignity. We, the members of the Church, have also been involved in
some unjust practices.
Recently the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children from their families (the 'Stolen Generation)
concluded. The institutional practice of the removal of children is one example of
structural sin. Depriving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of citizenship
until 1967 and the removal of people from their traditional lands are other examples.
The Reconciliation Gathering is a clear statement by the
Catholic education community that we support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
brothers and sisters, and that we all commit to working for a society where the sins of
the past will not be repeated.
The Reconciliation Gathering is an opportunity for the Catholic
school community to make a unique contribution to reconciliation. As an educational
community we have the privilege and challenge to form ourselves and our students as
individuals and as members of society.
Our challenge is to work together with Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples in building community. We are also challenged to work for justice
within society, to fully participate in the processes that decide issues such as Land
Rights, equitable finding and self-determination.
Although the Reconciliation Gathering
was not be a time for
formal sacramental reconciliation, our coming together was a sign and symbol of our being
united as one through Jesus, himself as sacrament, who came to reconcile all with the
Reconciliation is not about guilt.
For us as Catholics, reconciliation takes us beyond guilt to
freedom. The Reconciliation Gathering was not based on the gathered community expressing
guilt. It was certainly not about asking students, many of whom will have had little
personal contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to feel guilty.
However, reconciliation requires that we recognise the truth
about what has occurred. It is only by acknowledging the truth of the past, that we can
ensure that it never recurs.
Reconciliation is not about blame.
The Reconciliation Gathering, rather than allocating blame,
instead challenged us to acknowledge the past and to work together for the well-being of
every member of our community.
Reconciliation is not a one off event... it is a process.
Reconciliation is a life long process. Events such as the
gathering provided an opportunity for celebration, renewal and recommitment.