Aboriginal Catholic Ministry
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle fosters the spiritual, cultural and social development of Aboriginal Australians. Aboriginal Catholic Ministry strives to:
- assist the Aboriginal community to share its faith and to care for one another
- create awareness and understanding of, and respect for, Aboriginal perspectives within the Catholic community
- create an awareness among indigenous and non-indigenous Australians that Aboriginal people are a significant part of the body of Christ in this land
- encourage indigenous Australians to participate actively in decision-making in the Catholic community.
In 1997, the Catholic Church officially designated the first Sunday in July as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. The aim of this day is to encourage Catholics locally, to focus their worship on Aboriginal and Torres Islander people and their culture and the issues of social justice they represent.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) was formed in 1989 at the first national conference of the Aboriginal and Islander Catholic Councils. In 1992 the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference officially recognised and welcomed it as the national representative and consultative body to the Church on issues concerning indigenous Catholics.
NATSICC plans a National Assembly every three years, to which the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle sends a representative.
The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle also regularly participates in NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week and has connections with Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR).