BRISBANE archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) has urged Catholics to become more actively involved in reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
This follows a week of prayers and special events held across Australia and overseas to mark National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week.
Other Catholic organizations including the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) also echoed the call following the week of commemorations which started on May 26.
Brisbane events included the unveiling of a series of commemorative plaques at Teralba Park at Everton Park, the Sherwood Arboretum, Orleigh Park, West End and at Brisbane City Hall.
Hundreds of people also marched through Sydney’s CBD in recognition of Sorry Day. A troupe of Aboriginal performers led the diverse crowd which included schoolchildren and members of the Stolen Generation.
Similar events were held in other Australian capital cities and overseas – in the United Kingdom the European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights (ENIAR) marked the day in London with a screening of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Stolen Generation.
CJPC executive officer Peter Arndt’s particularly called on Catholics to acquaint themselves with the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report on the forcible removal of indigenous children from their families and communities in the 20th Century.
CRA president Fr Mark Raper sj said that this year on May 26 Catholic Religious, along with all Australians, would commemorate Sorry Day “with a little more hope in our hearts”.
The ACBC’s Bishops Committee for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders also acknowledged the special significance of this year’s Sorry Day in Australia.
“Sorry Day, Monday 26 May 2008, is the first since the momentous Apology offered by the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd on February 13 this year.”
Mr Arndt said CJPC hoped that Catholic parishes and schools would continue to mark National Sorry Day on May 26, National Reconciliation Week from May 27 to June 3 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on the first Sunday each year with prayer and rituals.
“But our prayers and rituals will not mean as much if we do not also try to take action to bring healing.”
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.