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The newly fitted campervan will assist Fr Prakash Menezes SVD and Fr Ollie Noclam SVD in their ministry to outlying Aboriginal communities (Divine Word Missionaries)

With the help of generous donors and partners in mission, the Divine Word Missionaries have taken delivery of a small campervan which will allow missionaries in Central Australia to visit outlying Aboriginal communities for longer periods. Source: In The Word.

Previously, the missionaries have driven hundreds of kilometres to be with the people in those communities, but often, after celebrating Mass or other sacraments, they have to turn around and make the long drive back to Alice Springs again.

“We have about 12 Aboriginal communities outside of Alice Springs and they don’t have a place for us to stay, so having the campervan means we could go and really spend time with the people, instead of just coming and going,” said Fr Olivier Noclam SVD, parish priest at Santa Teresa.

“For us, it is really important to be with the people and spend time with them, getting to know them and their culture and their way of life.

“Even for things like the sacramental program, we need to spend time and prepare them for the sacraments.

“We also find that the main time the people pray together in the community is when the priest is there and so we want to provide those opportunities for them to come together and pray.”

The campervan will also assist a new initiative for Central Australia, a collaboration with Catholic Mission, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), the SVD and the Diocese of Darwin, to have a lay prayer leader or catechist in these outlying communities, as authorised recently by Pope Francis.

“The priest will have to stay in the community and provide formation and support for this person, so we will need to have somewhere to stay,” Fr Ollie says.


New campervan hits the road to help missionaries in outback ministry (In the Word)