Diocese recognises National Reconciliation Week

Last week, students, staff, and community members from across the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle recognised National Reconciliation Week through several different events.

Bishop Michael Kennedy and around 100 staff and community members gathered at Newcastle West on 30 May to attend a special liturgy acknowledging our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Students from St Mary's Catholic College, Gateshead performed two powerful traditional dances and a number of people spoke about what Reconciliation means to them.

CatholicCare Hunter-Manning Caseworker, Taipu Moana says the week and reconciliation as a whole needs to be embraced by everyone, every day.

“Reconciliation should not be limited to a week,” he said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge should permeate all sectors of society and communities, educating all peoples and cultures that choose to reside here.”

Chair of the Diocesan Reconciliation Action Group, David McGovern, agrees with Taipu.

“Reconciliation Week is a time to be mindful of the pain and suffering that others feel, even if we don't always understand where that comes from and may even be reluctant to acknowledge or accept any personal responsibility for causing that pain and suffering,” he added.

Our 58 Catholic schools acknowledged the annual fixture through classroom activities, liturgies, out-of-uniform days and more.

In our St Nicholas Early Education Centres and OOSH Services, learners also embraced our Indigenous history through a variety of interactive activities.

At St Nicks in Maitland, learners explored composing Indigenous music with clapping sticks, learned an emu dance, and looked at Aboriginal art, while children in Chisholm sang an Indigenous lullaby and those in Cardiff read dreamtime stories and made sand art.

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