Home' The Southern Cross : November 2016 Contents eresource
NATSICC Website for the Commemoration of
the 30th Anniversary of Pope St John Paul II to
Alice Springs: http://www.natsicc.org.au/saintjp2.
NATSICC YouTube Video for the Commemoration:
Australian Human Rights Commission – Close the
Gap, Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality:
The time for rebirth is now
Page 18 November 2016
eresource: Remembering Pope John Paul II visit to Australia
Thirty years ago, on November 29, Pope John Paul II gave his
historic address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in
Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs. To mark the occasion, Catholics around
Australia are being asked to celebrate this significant event and reflect
on the sainted Pope’s message. The theme of the commemoration is
‘Walk tall and command respect. The time for this rebirth is now!’.
The first visit by a Pope to remote Australia in 1986 had a
significant impact on the Indigenous Australian Catholic
community and provided encouragement for the furthering
and establishment of more Aboriginal and Islander Catholic
Ministries around Australia.
Today, there are more than 120,000 Indigenous and Torres
Strait Islander Catholics around the country. The most
recent Closing the Gap annual report has shown that
Indigenous Australians still face significant challenges
and health risks compared to their white-Australian
Here are some key statistics from the report:
On average, Indigenous people die 10 years
younger than non-Indigenous people.
The life expectancy for Indigenous men is 69.1
years, compared to 79.7 for non-Indigenous men.
For women, it is 73.7 and 83.1 years respectively.
There has been a significant decline in infant
mortality rates and deaths from chronic and
circulatory diseases in the Indigenous community
over the past two decades.
Between 2010 and 2014, 505 Indigenous babies
died, accounting for 83 per cent of the 611
Indigenous child deaths over the period.
Indigenous infant mortality rate is 6.4 per 1000
as of 2014, compared to 3.6 in Australia on a whole.
The gap has closed 83 per cent since 1998,
however, showing significant progress.
Sixty per cent of Indigenous students finish
Year 12, compared to 86.5 per cent of
non-Indigenous Australians. This is a significant
improvement – in the 1990s approximately
32 per cent of Indigenous students were
completing Year 12 studies.
The employment rate for Indigenous Australians
is only 47.5 per cent compared to an overall
Australian employment rate of 72.1 per cent.
It has gone backwards since 2008, when the
Indigenous employment rate was 53.8 per cent.
On average, an Indigenous man is 15 times
more likely to be incarcerated compared to a
Indigenous people account for more than
25 per cent of Australia’s prison population.
Chairman of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Catholic Council, John Lochowiak, who is based
at Centacare’s Otherway Centre in Adelaide, speaks of the
significance of the event in this special message to Church
leaders, parishes, schools and Indigenous communities:
“Jesus spoke directly to the hearts of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people on November 29 1986 in Australia’s
heart – Alice Springs.
The message was delivered to our people by his devoted
apostle Saint John Paul II. We had travelled along our
well-worn trade routes from every corner of Australia to
encounter God on that day.
As Saint John Paul II spoke, a wind storm picked up the
red soil from the Earth and swirled it amongst our people.
The dust seemed to intertwine with the words of love,
hope and empathy. The message touched our souls and
it touched our skin. Never before had we felt so welcome
in the house of Jesus. The impact of this day on our lives
cannot be measured. It provided the encouragement for
the establishment of Aboriginal and Islander Catholic
Ministries all over Australia and it lit the fire in our hearts
which still provides the warmth, energy and strength for
us to continue. We now have over 120,000 Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Catholics in Australia and the support
of our Australian Catholic Bishops on our journey of faith.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Saint John Paul
II’s visit to Australia and we need his words now more than
ever – our people have the worst health in Australia as well
as the highest incarceration and youth suicide rates in the
world. We need rebirth now!”
A message from Jesus
John Lochowiak leads the smoking ceremony during a NATSICC Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
Links Archive October 2016 December 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page