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Participants at the Mercy Partners Indigenous Encounter Day in Townsville on May 19 (Mercy Partners/Libby Blom)

More than 70 Catholics from ministries across Townsville joined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and religious leaders in a day of listening, connection and reconciliation. Source: Mercy Partners.

The third annual Indigenous Encounter Day at Saint Teresa’s Church Garbutt began with a cultural dance performed by 12 students from Carinity Education Shalom, led by their teacher, Andy Bollom. 

Dr Caroline Thompson, Director of Formation at Mercy Partners, welcomed everyone and outlined the theme of this year’s encounter day: Raising Indigenous Voices. 

The first session of the day gave voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from Carinity Education Shalom, Aboriginal Men’s Healing Group and Cowboy’s House. 

The second session was a time for listening in yarning circles led by Elders Aunty Dulcie Isaro and her sister Aunty Dallas, Dianne Jardin from Community Gro, Zacarias Nogar and Carl Lymburner from Aboriginal Men’s Healing Group and Chaplain Joshua Lane from Cowboy’s House.

In the final session, participants considered and reflected on Fr Frank Brennan SJ’s “Ten Steps for Approaching the Voice Referendum” (based on Catholic Social Teaching) and discussed the importance of the upcoming referendum for Australia’s reconciliation journey. 

The participants included Mercy Partners Townsville ministries’ board members and leaders from St Patrick’s College Townsville, Mater Hospital, Mercy Community and local Sisters of Mercy. 

Townsville Bishop Tim Harris and many diocesan clergy also attended, as did representatives from St Vincent de Paul, Caritas, Catholic Mission, Holy Spirit Sisters, Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and local parishioners.


Front row seated: Aunty Dulcie Isaro, left, Bishop Timothy Harris, Dr Caroline Thompson
Mid section: Year 12 Senior Leaders from St Patrick’s College Townsville and the dance troupe from Carinity Education Shalom
Back row: Carl Lymburner, Andy Bollom and Zacarias Nogar


Mercy Partners Annual Indigenous Encounter Day (Mercy Partners)