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Pentecost painting by Magda Lee, Gracie Mosquito and Imelda Gugamen (Balgo Community)

Ahead of yesterday’s celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, NATSICC announced the winners of the 2024 Service to Community Awards, recognising five outstanding individuals for their remarkable contributions.

This year, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council Adult Service to Community Award was awarded to Mary O’Reeri, for showing exceptional leadership in organising faith-based events and advocating for her community in the Kimberley. The Non-Indigenous Service to Community Award was awarded to Cassandra Auld for her dedication to delivering culturally appropriate Religious Education and supporting Aboriginal perspectives in regional NSW.

The Elder Service to Community Award was jointly awarded to Eileen Bray, Shirley Purdie, and Maureen Moore.

“Eileen and Shirley have tirelessly mentored younger generations and preserved cultural traditions in Warmun, while Maureen has been an active and cherished member of All Saints parish for at least 15 years and shown steadfast commitment to her community in regional Victoria,” NATSICC said in a statement last week.

“NATSICC celebrates these inspiring individuals for their unwavering dedication and the positive impact they have made in their communities.”

Meanwhile, parishes across Australia were invited to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, which is celebrated annually on the first Sunday in July.

“On this day, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, we gather as one community to honour and celebrate the rich cultural heritage and contributions of our First Nations Peoples to our Australian Catholic Church,” NATSICC said in a statement. 

“As Pope Francis reminds us, we are called to be a Church that goes forth, embracing all cultures and peoples. Let us open our hearts to the wisdom and spirituality of our First Nations Peoples, recognising the presence of Christ in our stories and traditions. May this celebration be a moment of grace, healing, and transformation for all of us.”


2024 NATSICC Service to Community Awards (NATSICC)

Keep the Fire Burning: Strong in Faith – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Resources (NATSICC)