Mission & Identity Resources | May 2023
As I write this, the Season of Easter has just begun and much is being said about Jesus rising from the dead; what that means for all of humanity, what that means for you and me… As I turn my thoughts to the month of May, the month traditionally associated with Mary, Mother of God, I’m connecting thoughts about the meaning of Easter with thoughts of Mary as the first disciple. As we know, Easter does not end on Easter Sunday; rather, in the liturgical year of the Church, Easter continues for seven weeks and concludes with Pentecost. With all the focus on what we give up for Lent, sometimes we forget to talk about what we are called to throughout Easter – and beyond. In the Catholic tradition, we are taught that we are not saved through faith alone, but rather that our lives must contain good works. Christ’s resurrection brings us the hope of new life, and the Easter season nourishes our reflections on how we can live that new life each day. The characteristics of discipleship that we can learn from Mary –questioning, faith, hope, support of others and saying yes to God’s will– these characteristics have much to offer us as we seek to exercise the promise of new life through our actions in helping those in need. On the day of Pentecost, we hear in the Gospel of John: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” How can we take up this challenge in our lives, here and now?
Hopefully, you have heard of the recently published book by Fr. Frank Brennan SJ, An Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Considering a Constitutional Bridge. You may be interested in the Virtual Book Launch (Fr. Frank begins speaking at 7mins 15secs). This book outlines both the `Yes’ and `No’ cases so that voters can make up their own minds before voting in the upcoming referendum. Fr. Frank has observed that Australians must have their say on Voice to Parliament legislation“respectfully and cautiously” because “we are talking about the nations soul” (CathNews 4.4.2023). It could also be said that we express something of our own souls as we engage, or don’t; speak considerately, or don’t. In Fr. Frank’s article, How to Vote on The Voice, he suggests “ten steps for Catholics inspired by our Catholic social teaching when approaching the forthcoming referendum.” I encourage you to have a read. The month of May concludes with the beginning of Australia’s National Reconciliation Week. In this year where we are exploring justice through the lens of Mary Ward’s tradition, may we make an extra effort to express regret for injustices of the past, to focus on reconciliation, to hear about the culture and history of Australia’s Indigenous people, and to explore new and better ways of meeting challenges in our communities.
National Sorry Day | 26th May
On May 26, 1997, a report was presented entitled “Bringing them Home”. Prepared by the National Enquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, it included sad and painful stories of the removal of thousands of Indigenous children from their families. The report recommended that a Sorry Day should be held. This day is a National Day of Healing Day and takes place each year the day before the commencement of National Reconciliation Week.
God of justice and forgiveness,
Speak to us in your great wisdom. Teach us to love all people, regardless of colour or belief. May we welcome the Gospel into our lives, with all its unsettling consequences, and stand in solidarity with all those in need. In the radical spirit of the Beatitudes, may we through our actions demonstrate our respect for all children of God. Amen.
- National Day of Healing and National Reconciliation Week – Loreto Australia & South East Asia
- National Sorry Day Prayer
Pentecost | 27th May
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia!
In preparation for the Feast of Pentecost, I recommend to you Pope Francis’ Homily from Pentecost Sunday, 2022: ” [I]n the great journey of life, the Spirit teaches us where to begin, what paths to take, and how to walk.”
Loving God, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples and to us. May we go out with joy and conviction, to share the Good News of the gospel with all those we meet. Amen.
National Reconciliation Week | 27th May – 3rd June
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) annually offers people across Australia the opportunity to reflect on and express regret for injustices of the past and present, to focus on reconciliation, to hear about the culture and history of Australia’s Indigenous people, and to explore new and better ways of meeting challenges in our communities. These occasions aim to give people across Australia the opportunity to focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians. It is a time to reflect on achievements so far and on what must still be done to achieve reconciliation.
This key week in our national calendar is framed by two very important dates: May 27 is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum in which 90% of all Australians voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Indigenous people and include original inhabitants in the census. June 3rd marks the anniversary of the High Court’s Mabo decision, which recognised the Native Title Rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and overturned the myth of “terra nullius”. The 2023 theme for NRW is “Be a Voice for Generations: It encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.” #NRW2023 Theme
May this be our prayer as we journey through the week ahead:
God of justice and forgiveness,
Guide us as we continue on our pathways to Reconciliation. Grant us the courage to speak out against the injustices that our Indigenous brothers and sisters continue to suffer. Help us to see with new eyes, to listen to the stories of our Indigenous brothers and sisters and to feel with hearts of compassion. Help us to build right relations with each other based on truth and justice. We ask this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen.
- NRW Posters and Resources
- Aboriginal Catholic Ministry
- Introducing the Uluru Statement from the Heart
- Uluru Statement from the Heart Background Video
- The Uluru Statement website
- Faith Leaders Endorse Uluru Statement from the Heart
- Bishops endorse Uluru Statement from the Heart
- A Voice in the Wilderness
- History is Calling