Jesus I know is no cold, hard Iron-Christ; nor does Jesus
deserve to be reduced to smug, glib and uncompassionate
irrelevancies when the real meaning of His love is what
people need so desperately.
is Worthy?" Ted Kennedy
2004 - 4th to 11th July 2004
us remember Pope John Paul II, in his address to indigenous
people, "And the Church herself in Australia
will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her
to be until you have made your contribution to her
life and until that contribution has been joyfully
received by others."
year's NAIDOC theme "Self-Determination - Our
Community - Our Future - Our Responsibility"
is particularly timely at this stage in our history.
The independent administration of Aboriginal organisations
is under pressure and scrutiny all around the nation
and some national media continue to campaign for the
assimilation of our culture. As Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples we need now, more than ever,
to stand up for our culture, our way of life and ourselves.
As we celebrate the survival of our culture this year
we must also focus on the challenges we are confronting
during the next 10 years and beyond. Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples also need the help
and support of their fellow Australians to ensure
that all of us have access to the same opportunities
and a fair go. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples can only move forward, however, if they were
allowed to consolidate upon the measure of self-determination
already achieved during many decades of struggle.
We are particularly keen, under the auspices of this
year's NAIDOC theme, to see all Australians thinking
about the real aspirations of Indigenous Australians.
Week provides the opportunity to recognise and celebrate
Indigenous Australians' rightful position in this
Nation, andto imagine what might be achieved through
a bipartisan and commonsense approach to Indigenous
Affairs. During NAIDOC Week we should put aside our
differences and demonstrate to the rest of the world
our capacity as a nation to offer a new sense of optimism.
NAIDOC Week also provides Indigenous Australians with
the opportunity to promote among all Australians a
sense of national pride and a commitment to our Nation
and its future. (ATSIC website)
Walker of NATSICC writes
the framework of celebration and our faith, let us
bring together all peoples to once again unite in
the struggle to recognise, affirm and celebrate Australia's
indigenous peoples and culture. We cannot afford to
let the efforts of the Council of Reconciliation fade
into the distance before any real and lasting change
has been effected, the struggle must continue…"
of the Aboriginal People
by Aboriginal people for Pope John Paul II's visit
to Alice Springs 1986)
You gave us the Dreaming,
You have spoken to us through our beliefs,
You then made your love clear to us in the person
We thank you for your care.
You own us, you are our hope.
Make us strong as we face the problems of change.
We ask you to help the people of Australia to listen
to us and respect our culture.
Make the knowledge of you grow strong in all people,
So that you can be at home in us and we can make a
home for everyone in our land. Amen
serve in many ways. Some dedicate their entire life
to service. Others serve when the opportunity arises.
Some dedicate themselves to serving God or serving
the planet. Some serve ideas, like truth, justice,
or freedom. Some serve their families. Others seek
to help the poor or the sick. Some serve the government.
Some people are of service to animals. Some are of
service to all sentient beings.
urge to serve arises out of recognition of unity.
I serve you because I see that you and I are connected.
We are of the same stuff. We have the same sorts of
feelings, aspirations, and disappointments. When we
see the face of God in the eyes of a hungry person,
we want to provide food. When we feel the pain of
an animal in distress we want to save it. When we
recognize the earth as our mother, we want to protect
her. When you make yourself fully at home in the universe
you naturally want to assist all who live there.
How do I serve? Supplied by Claude Mostovik
more fitting Crucifix
seems appropriate that at the beginning of NAIDOC
week there is a more fitting crucifix in St Vincent's
Church Redfern. We negotiated with the Neocatechumenate
priests to exchange their ivory white Figure of Christ
for a dark olive wood figure belonging to Ted Kenedy.
It was carved in Obuammagau, Germany. Ted often said
that a wooden crucifix was not needed in Redfern as
we had the crucified Christ living in the suffering
Aboriginal community in our midst. The Aboriginal
writer, Jack Davis, wrote of this:
murdered me with rope, with gun,
The massacre my enclave,
You buried me deep on McLarty's run
Flung into a common grave.
You propped me up with Christ, red tape,
Tabacco, grog and fears,
Then disease and lordly rape
the brutish years.
Now you primly say you're justified,
And sing of a nation's glory,
But I think of a people crucified -
The real Australian story"
you wish to honor the Body of Christ? Do not despise
him when he is naked. Do not honor him here in the
church building with silks, only to neglect him outside,
when he is suffering from cold and from nakedness.
For he who said, "This is my Body" is the
same who said, "You saw me, a hungry man, and
you did not give me to eat." Feed the hungry
and then come and decorate the table. The Temple of
your afflected brother's body is more precious than
this Temple (the church). The Body of Christ becomes
for you an altar. It is more holy than the altar of
stone on which you celebrate the holy sacrifice. You
are able to contemplate this altar everywhere, in
the street and in the open squares.
Tissa Balasunya "The Eucharist and Human liberation"
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1979) pp.26-27
Prepared by Sheila Quonoey and