Brisbane Archdiocese welcomes Message Stick
The Pass It On Message Stick was officially welcomed to the Archdiocese of Brisbane at a Eucharist led by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman at the Cathedral of St Stephen yesterday.
The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission reports that the Relay is an initiative of Indigenous Catholics and seeks to encourage all Catholics to renew their commitment to the process of reconciliation.
The Relay is a preparation for the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's meeting with Indigenous people in Alice Springs. These special celebrations will take place in Alice Springs from 2 October to 7 October.
In Aboriginal tradition, the Message Stick is a symbol of peace and goodwill presented to members of other tribes when Aborigines enter their country.
The Message Stick will be passed on to parishes, schools and agencies in the Archdiocese of Brisbane until the end of June.
In his homily, Bishop Joseph Oudeman quoted extensively from Pope John Paul's address in Alice Springs in 1986.
He urged Catholics in the Archdiocese to listen to the Holy Father's message of twenty years ago and to engage in "a renewed effort" to bring about justice for Indigenous Australians and to foster reconciliation.
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is working with the Archdiocesan Murri Ministry Team to organise the Relay and to provide Catholics with the support they need to respond to the challenge of Pope John Paul's 1986 message.
The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the response from parishes, schools and agencies is encouraging.
"Many parishes, schools and agencies have booked to welcome the Message Stick and we are overwhelmed by this response," Mr Arndt said. "It is a hopeful sign that so many Catholics are supporting this programme with great enthusiasm," he said.
"They want to understand the issues and to respond in a meaningful and effective way," he said. "At a time when reconciliation has disappeared from the national agenda, the Church is standing alongside Australia's Indigenous people and trying to be a faithful witness to Christ in our land," he said.
Message Stick Welcomed To Archdiocese (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission 27/2/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Message Stick Relay (NATSICC)
Catholic schools launch reconcilation message stick (ABC Message Stick 24/2/06)
27 Feb 2006