I hope you all enjoyed the mid-year break after an interesting first half of 2020.
As we return to school for the new term, we are conscious that our families, friends and colleagues in Victoria are again in lockdown after an increase in diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks.
No doubt this is devastating for those who were starting to return to some sort of normal in Victoria.
For us here in Queensland, it is a timely and stark reminder to remain vigilant as we continue to live our lives in the midst of this pandemic.
I pray that you, your families and friends remain safe and well.
Each year the first full week in July marks National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week.
While the celebration of NAIDOC week has been postponed until November 8 - 15 November, our BCE NAIDOC Working Group has put together some wonderful resources, including a series of videos by Ngutana-Lui tutors, to share with our schools and offices.
One of these resources is our Deadly Yarns series, which began with Jayden's Story about a Year 12 student from St Peter Claver College, Riverview.
With leaders like Jayden in our schools I am confident the future is in good hands.
I offer our sincere thanks to Ngutana-Lui staff and members of the NAIDOC Working Group for their work in developing and making available these resources.
Every year the Sunday that marks the start of NAIDOC week is set aside by the Church as National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.
This year we celebrated on July 5 with some people gathering in our churches while others joined online to celebrate Mass.
In support of the NAIDOC week theme, Always was, always will be, the theme for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday was Together in the Spirit.
In his homily for the online Mass, Fr Frank Brennan referred to the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart saying our hope is that this statement helps provide “a more secure place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the life of the Australian nation".
Fr Frank elaborated further, drawing on an extract from the report of one of the Plenary Council discernment groups which said: “humble listening will bring healing for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The principle of subsidiarity is key – the days of deciding for them must be over. A new and real engagement, standing together in solidarity, is a merciful and humble way to a new pathway of healing". (p. 10 in Plenary Council Discernment document – Humble, Healing and Merciful).
As we commence this term, I share with you the Acknowledgement of Country that Kevin Eastment wrote for the video produced by Ngutana-Lui staff to mark NAIDOC week in 2020.
“We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and emerging Elders and Traditional Custodians of the nations within the Archdiocese of Brisbane, and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples."
I wish each of you every blessing as Term 3 unfolds.
Executive Director Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101