Faith and Justice

The Jesuits and the Pope

Last week we said goodbye to Rev. Dr Thomas Scirghi SJ, and we were honoured that he gave his last Perth lecture at the College. A number of our Year 11 and 12 students attended the talk and, from the questions they asked, took a lot from it. Fr Thomas commented that the best questions of the evening were those our students asked! One piece of advice he gave to Year 12s as they move beyond school is to learn what it is to be truly human. In response to a student's question, Fr Thomas suggested that one way of being human is to live one's life a though a gift for others.

Do yourself a favour and read the Fr Thomas' talk over the holidays - if you haven't already done so! The Jesuits and the Pope. Fr Thomas was in Perth for semester 1 as the 2013 Jesuit Chair of Studies at St Thomas More College.

We value the vision - a celebration of 50 years since the Yirrkala Bark petitions.

50 years ago a group of elders from the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land sent petitions, framed with bark ochre paintings of their own clan designs, to the House of Representatives in Canberra. It was a courageous and visionary action - remember this is August 1963, prior to the Referendum of 1967!

What were they petitioning? A section of land had been excised to allow for Bauxite Mining in north-east Arnhem Land. It was an area that the Yolngu people had traditionally used for hunting and gathering - as a source of food, and it was also the location of some sacred sites. There had been no consultation between the government or the mining company and the Yolngu people. Significantly the petition requested:

- "…And they humbly pray that the Honourable the House of Representatives will appoint a committee, accompanied by competent interpreters, to hear the vies of the people of Yirrkala, before permitting the excision of this land.

- They humbly pray that no arrangements will be entered into with any company which will destroy the livelihood and the independence of the Yirrkala people.

- And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray God to help you and us."


The documents have become an icon in the recognition of the First People of Australia, and were the catalyst for further developments. "Today, we look to a future that better understands and celebrates the unique connection that Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander's share to country, as we continue to build an Australia that reflects the achievements and furthers the aspirations of all our people". (Source: NAIDOC

Once a year in July, a week is set aside to particularly celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is known as NAIDOC week - and the official date for 2013 is 7th - 14th July. Watch in your local area for NAIDOC events during the holiday!

Today the College was honoured to welcome Dr Richard Walley to conduct a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country, as part of our NAIDOC week celebrations, for Years 5 - 12. Dr Richard Walley OAM is a Nyoongar man of the South-West region, with family connections throughout the Wadjuck, Ballardong, Wardan, Yuat and Pinjareb regions within Nyoongar country. Richard became involved with Aboriginal politics at an early age, having active involvement in the formation or operation of several major Aboriginal community service organisations. This would become a platform for Richard to work in the area of Culture and the Arts. In 1978, Richard along with four other Aboriginals formed the 'Middar Aboriginal Theatre'. Middar during its lifetime took the Nyoongar culture to 32 different countries. Richard is a spokesperson for the promotion and recognition of Nyoongar culture and continues to perform as a musician, dancer and works as a visual artist.

Prior to the Ceremonies, members of the Community gathered in the Chapel for a Liturgy of the Word, led by the Alice Springs Pilgrims. Earlier in the week, students and staff gathered for a fundraising 'bushburger' lunch in the pavilion, to raise funds for Jarjum Aboriginal college in Redfern. Thanks to chef extraordinaire, Patsy Ahern, and her 'team' as well as to Sarah den Haan for organizing this event. Also thanks to our own resident singer/guitarist Christian Thompson who entertained with renditions of such songs as From Little Things Big Things Grow, and Solid Rock.


Lifelink was celebrated in style by secondary students last Friday: students and staff paid a gold coin to wear a 'crazy tie'. Lots of novel, flamboyant and innovative ties were in evidence for this fun and classy fundraisier. The 'coin-link' for Lifelink generated some competition - and was won by Loyola House, for the longest chain AND the largest total! Well done Loyola! Many basketsful of goodies for Shopfront are overflowing and will be dispatched to the centre next week. We know from the talk by our guests that these items will be used by those in great need in our own city. Thank you for your enthusiasm and generosity for this work of the Catholic Church in Perth. Special thanks to Cameron Haines as well as the other House Co-ordinators, Gemma Wooltorton and our Year 11 leaders for the great organisation of this week.

Sacramental Program

Confirmation in St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Claremont

The Sacrament of Confirmation will be conferred on Sunday 6th September, and enrolments event are being finalised. If Claremont is your home parish, and you haven't already done so, it is important to enrol your daughter or son immediately. Contact: Silvia Kinder or 0429 065 842

Year 6 students at John XXIII College have completed the preparation program for Confirmation, and many have already celebrated their confirmation this year. In line with Archbishop's guidelines for the Sacramental Program, John XXIII students are prepared in class and parents, as first educators in faith, enrol their children at their home parish.

Mary-Anne Lumley
Liturgist and Parish Liaison