The Southern Cross : April 2011
Digital version online at www.thesoutherncross.org.au $2 inc. GST April 2011 TheSouthern Cross Part of your Catholic family since 1867 Every Sunday at around 5pm, a small congregation of up to 18 asylum seekers share the Eucharist with a Catholic priest under a marquee at the Inverbrackie detention centre in the Adelaide Hills. Who they are, or how and why they came to Australian shores remains classified information. But images of asylum seekers sharing Mass with Mount Barker/ Strathalbyn parish priest Father John Vildzius (page 3) are the first to reveal the routine and ritual of life inside the Inverbrackie Alternative Place of Detention, at Woodside. Fr John and Adelaide Hills parish priest Fr Mario van Antwerpen have been offering a Catholic service at Inverbrackie every Sunday since January. Fr Mario said he, pastoral director Patricia Brady and the parish community could not ignore the plight of asylum seekers on their doorstep. "Mandatory detention remains one of the gross injustices of this country," said the parish priest, who also visited the infamous Baxter detention camp in Port Augusta in the early 2000s. Those attending the Mass are mostly men, women and children from Sri Lanka. Sometimes they are joined by an Iranian couple and their son, who are Christians of a Protestant denomination. Fr John said Hindus also attended the Mass for spiritual connection and a blessing at Communion. "Many have a great devotion to Our Lady, and the children place flowers around the statue of Mary I bring to the service," he said. Multifaith Association of South Australia president and former state Independent MP Kris Hanna said the provision of worship services was vital to the mental and spiritual health of people in detention. "Access to their religion will be a powerful comfort to them, particularly as they face some years of detention and uncertainty." Inverbrackie was opened last year to house up to 400 people -- all are families deemed a "low-risk" by Immigration and are awaiting a decision on their visa applications. At the time of publication, there were about 300 men, women and children living at Inverbrackie. Continued on page 3. Inverbrackie breaks bread Rebecca DiGirolamo BABY BOOM: Chocolate eggs are a symbol of new life at Easter time and nowhere is new life more evident than at Nazareth Catholic College where eight staff members are expecting babies in 2011. The baby boom is creating a buzz amongst the expanding community at Nazareth and it's not just the female staff affected as secondary teacher Tim Fernandez is a first time expectant father as well. Nazareth Director Mr Michael Dahl said the school would be supporting its new and expectant mothers (and father) through a series of discussions on leaving and re-entering the workforce, childcare, work-life balance, breastfeeding and other relevant workplace issues. "At Nazareth we are proud of our family environment, and therefore are supportive of return to the workforce and flexible hours for our staff," Mr Dahl said. "We are absolutely delighted with the exciting news that eight staff members and families are expecting babies this year." Pictured from left are Sonia Nowak, Anita Donovan, Victoria Richardson, Kate Radloff, Sarah Hughes, Julie Tarzia, Victoria Warner, and Emma Dottore. Photo: Stephen Gray Eggspecting!