POPE Benedict XVI called for a renewed purpose in meeting the challenges facing Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, in a message to an indigenous gathering in Alice Springs from October 2-7.
Retired Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as papal legate to the gathering, delivered the pontiff’s message at the closing Mass on October 7.
More than 700 delegates from across Australia and New Zealand gathered in Alice Springs for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council’s “Dreaming from the Heart” National Assembly.
Numbers swelled to about 1500 for the closing Mass at Blatherskite Park, led by Cardinal Cassidy and a number of bishops, including Bishop Ted Collins of Darwin.
In his message, Pope Benedict said the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Alice Springs was an occasion for joyful remembrance, but also for looking forward.
Pope Benedict said much had been achieved along the path to reconciliation, but there was still much to be accomplished.