NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC is celebrated nationally in Indigenous communities, but alsoby Australians from all walks of life. This year the celebration was held in November because of a proponent made as a result of the Coronavirus.
The these this year is ‘Always was, always will be’.
It recognises that our First Nations have occupied and cared for this great land for many thousands of years. They are spiritually and culturally connected to this country.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples were the first explorers, the first navigators, first artists, and many other first of this land.
There are over 133-thousand Aboriginal Catholics. Here in our Diocese of the Northern Territory they are one-third of our Catholic population.
Pope St. John Paul II reminded us in 1986 in his address in Central Australia that the Catholic Church will not be fully the Church that Christ wants until it embraces the contribution of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.
We need to walk with our First Nations people, not before or after, we walk together.
The Holy spirit keeps calling us to understand each other regardless of our cultural backgrounds.
There is much that we can learn from the spirituality of our First peoples.
Christ calls us all to be one in Him, one in the Holy Spirit.
We acknowledge past wrongs and pray to be able to move forward in the Holy Spirit.
There are still many challenges.
Our First people have a significant lower life expectancy from the general population.
They are very over-represented in our prison system, both adult and juvenile.
There are many educational challenges.
There is still, sadly, discrimination experienced by many Frist Nation peoples.
As Catholics we embrace all of our brothers and sisters of all backgrounds, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our family.
Christ reached out to others; He did not wait for them to come to Him. He calls us to reach out, to learn from each other.
Our faith calls us to support others in their journey of self-determination.