14 Feb 2012
With Christ's words to the disciples in Gethsemane: "Stay here, watch and Pray with me" as the principal theme, the weekly readings will be reflected upon from an Aboriginal perspective, and be presented by Graeme Mundine, ACM Executive Officer and one of the Australia's most widely known and respected elders.
A former Marist Priest, Graeme will begin the reflections and readings each Tuesday evening from 7 until 8.30 pm at 77 Buckland Street, Alexandria.
Beginning on Shrove Tuesday, 21 February, the eve of Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, the weekly meetings are all part of the vibrant Catholic ministry giving pastoral care and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who live in the inner city. While the Church of Reconciliation at La Perouse has long been an important part of ACM and holds a Mass for Indigenous Catholics on the first Sunday of every month, from this weekend Masses will also be held at Erskineville's parish church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on the third Sunday of each month.
The decision to offer Mass to Indigenous people at Erskineville as well as La Perouse was made after ACM conducted a series of forums late last year to find out what people wanted and what was needed.
"What came through loud and clear was a desire for us to hold more 'Aboriginal Masses,' particularly in the inner city," Graeme explains adding that the Erskineville Church which is part of St Mary's parish will also conduct baptisms and funerals for Sydney's Indigenous people and their relatives from other parts of NSW.
While Australia's Indigenous people share much in common with their fellow Catholics, they have their own distinctive, rich culture, ancestry and voice. For this reason their own Mass is important and has great meaning for them, Graeme explains.
In addition to the Lenten Readings and Reflections and a monthly "Aboriginal Mass" at Erskineville's Catholic Church, ACM offers support to Indigenous people not only across Sydney but across wider Australia. As part of this support and in helping to give a voice to the concerns of Indigenous people, ACM has delivered a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee calling for a halt to the Northern Territory Intervention and Government policies such as compulsory Income Management, and SEAM (the School Enrolment and Attendance scheme where parents' welfare payments are suspended or cut if their children do not attend school).
"The Catholic Church has been involved with advocacy relating to the NT Emergency Response (NTER) through its various agencies since it was introduced in 2007," Graeme says and along with other Aboriginal elders and many of Australia's Aboriginal Catholic Ministries, has urged the Government not to pass the bills currently before the Senate which would expand NTER and bring more misery to the Indigenous people. SOURCE