ESTEEMED members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community joined Brisbane Catholic Education in celebrating the impending graduation of indigenous school students of Brisbane archdiocese at a special liturgy at St Stephen’s Cathedral on October 16.
There are a total of 154 students graduating from 19 Catholic schools across the archdiocese in 2015, with more than 100 attending the Mass.
Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal Cultural and Islander Centre teamed with school service centres at North Lakes and Springwood to organise the event, ensuring traditional cultural practices and Catholic spirituality were upheld.
Ngutana-Lui education officer Kevin Eastment said the intent of the liturgy was to affirm the achievement of finishing Year 12, providing positive affirmation for the students’ achievement.
“It’s not about outstanding academic results; we do it to recognise the kids in the Aboriginal spirituality,” he said.
BCE executive director Pam Betts, prominent archdiocese elders Uncle Eric Law (Wakka Wakka) and Uncle Joe Kirk (Turrbal), along with family members of the graduates, were all present for the culturally influenced liturgy.
The ceremony incorporated a number of cultural features, including a welcome dance, specially designed sashes for students, traditional music and a cross featuring indigenous art – all symbols of spirituality.
“It’s the little things that make the difference; the Church is happy for us to honour our heritage while celebrating Catholic education with them,” Mr Eastment said.
By Isaac Murphy