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Reconciliation Week is a significant week for us all. It is framed by the 55th anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to change the Constitution so that, like all other Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be counted as part of the population, and the Commonwealth would be able to make laws for them, and by the 30th anniversary of the 1992 High Court decision that recognised the existence of native title within our country. Five years ago, 250 delegates gathered at the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention and agreed on the Uluru Statement of the Heart. Reconciliation Week is preceded on 26 May by a National Day of Healing recalling the 25th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report.

These events remind us of a broken and lamentable past. Genuine reconciliation recognises this, commits to truth telling, and truly regrets the shameful harms that saw the rejection, humiliation, dispossession, and destruction of First Nations people and culture. Reconciliation also seeks to walk the journey to a future where all Australians − Indigenous and non-Indigenous − have access to fair and equitable resources, opportunities, and outcomes. The recently elected Federal Government promised to move on the Uluru Statement from the Heart to better recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Constitution and to support the Makarrata Commission for a truth-telling process.

Several events engaged the College community with this vision. Our smoking ceremonies helped us leave behind discord in order to come to healing and renewal. Our indigenous sporting tops, which have been worn at co-curricular events, followed protocols in the design development with a Kaurna Elder several years ago. These are laced with symbols − the yarning circle for Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Ignatians to learn about each other, the reconciliation logo of hands holding a heart on fire, mixed footprints for us to walk together, the Kaurna shield to defend against racism and fight for equality, yellow dots to remind us of the land, sea, sky and waterways, the eight red circles for the eight family clan groups of the Kaurna, the kangaroo paws as a living totem, the feathers signifying the Tjilbruke Dreaming, the blue lines to honour Ivarrityi and gentle rain, the blue tears related to Tjilbruke and Ivarrityi’s grief, and the Seven Sisters story told across 460 clan groups across Australia.

This week we are between two important feasts in the Church – Ascension and Pentecost. We are reminded of the grief and promise the disciples felt as Jesus ascended and the responsibility they embraced at Pentecost. As we seek to discern the needs of the Church today, may we be guided by the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ in our midst. Help us to be witnesses to the peace and joy we receive from the Risen Lord and kindle in our hearts the gifts of the Holy Spirit received in Baptism and Confirmation.

We ask God to comfort those suffering from the recent shootings in the United States. Guide the authorities and political leaders with wisdom and courage to eliminate bloodshed and violence and so protect and safeguard their people. We continue to pray for peace in Ukraine so that people may live in security and safety.

Fr Peter Hosking SJ
Rector

OREMUS (Let us pray)

We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.

For those who have died:

  • Mr Tranquillo Borgo, father of staff member Remo Borgo, and grandfather of Claudia (Year 10)
  • Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE QC, father of Fr Frank Brennan SJ
  • Fr Pat O'Sullivan SJ
  • Robert Michael Rollison (Class of 1962)

“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Mentor Teacher, or House Leader.

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