Aboriginal Catholic Ministry

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 functions as a collaborative group to:

  • bring together the Catholic rituals and Aboriginal spiritual ways of ceremony, by being a voice for the correct rituals for Aboriginal ways
  • advise and promote cultural protocols for Aboriginal/Catholic ceremonies
  • be an advocacy group for Aboriginal issues
  • recognise and promote the history of Aboriginal Catholic heritage
  • link Aboriginal students to identify with their heritage and be proud that they are part of a Catholic school system and identify with Aboriginal Catholic spirituality
  • outreach to parents of Aboriginal students to let them know about Aboriginal Catholic spirituality.

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).

Sacred Stories - Sacred Spaces Survey

Kamilaroi woman and member of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Jennifer Rumbel, extends an invitation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics to participate in an empowering research project that seeks to address the lack of Indigenous voices in our Diocese history.

The survey is part of a University of Newcastle post graduate student research project which is exploring the shared histories and stories of Aboriginal Catholics and the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.

This research seeks to provide a platform for the previously unheard voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in relation to their experiences both past and present with the Catholic Diocese.

This study aims to provide culturally appropriate, Sacred Spaces in which to share our Sacred Stories.

This survey will allow you to register your contact details for a one-to-one interview and will only take a couple of minutes to complete.

You can access the survey here: https://redcap.hmri.org.au/surveys/?s=ND3MLCC7NL