Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Fr Frank Brennan SJ at Reconciliation Catholic Church, La Perouse on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday (Alfonsus Fok/Catholic Weekly)

It was standing room only at the Reconciliation Catholic Church in La Perouse for Mass on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, marking the first NAIDOC week since the defeat of the Voice to Parliament in October 2023. Source: Catholic Weekly.

Parishes and schools across the country also celebrated the country’s Indigenous peoples, cultures and traditions, and five Catholics were honoured for their outstanding contributions. 

In his homily at La Perouse, celebrant Fr Frank Brennan SJ said that the “unfinished business” of constitutional recognition may now fall to the next generation to accomplish. 

“We’re handing you the baton,” he said, addressing the children in the church, although he said he hoped it would happen sooner. 

He drew on encouragement offered for the work of Indigenous recognition by notable elders Lowitja O’Donoghue, the first chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and lawyer and activist Noel Pearson. 

While the Yes campaign’s post-referendum open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the country’s politicians showed disappointment and “a lot of anger,” it also offered a sense of hope – expressing faith in an “upswelling of support” for Indigenous peoples, Fr Brennan said. 

Fr Brennan said he took heart at recent comments from Indigenous leader Professor Megan Davis, who rejected the idea that the Voice’s failure was the result of racism. 

“It would be a mistake to think the country is racist and that no change is possible. Think only of the overwhelming 90-plus per cent result in the 1967 referendum and the genuine delight and pride at the success of an Aboriginal athlete like Cathy Freeman or Ash Barty,” he said. 

State member for Maroubra Michael Daley and federal member for Kingsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite attended the Mass, which was preceded by an acknowledgement of country, blessing of water and the playing of a didgeridoo. 

The congregation prayed the Aboriginal Our Father from the Diocese of Broome’s Mass of the Land of the Holy Spirit, approved by the Australian Catholic bishops in May. 

The theme for this year’s celebrations was “Keep the fire burning: Strong in faith.” 

Sydney Catholic Schools’ Catholic Education Foundation announced two new scholarships to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Year 12, in partnership with the University of Notre Dame Australia, and two bursaries for school-based apprenticeships and traineeships with Bennelong Energy Services. 


Indigenous Catholics keep the fire of faith burning (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)