OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Sunday of Reconciliation with local Aborigine community promoted by the Christian community on Palm Island where there is the largest number of Aborigines in Australia

Monday, 4 July 2005

Townsville (Fides Service) - Put aside all violence, heal wounds and divisions, work for reconciliation were the aims of a rally organised on Sunday July 3 for Reconciliation with the Aborigine community promoted by the Christian community on Palm Island, north of Townsville, capital of Australia’s north eastern province of Queensland.
Used in the past as a leper colony Palm Island today has amoing its population the largest Aborigene community in Australia, 4,000 people belonging to 42 tribes. The community here faces the same difficulties as in the rest of the country, druge abuse, domesetic abuse, youth unemployment, crime. Last November social malcontent and tension gave rise to clashes with the police. The island was recently censured as one of the most violent parts of Australia.
Following these events the four Christian communities on Palm Island, Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians united to promote greater social unity and reconciliation with various initiatives including a peaceful rally acorss the island on July 3 in which Christians of all four demoninations, whites and Aborigines marched for peace and reconciliation.
“This rally gave new impulse to the Island’s ecumenical movement and social harmony among the people”, local Sacred Heart Missionary Fr. Tony O’Brien, told Fides. “Together we are working for the unity of the Church and the society on the island. I was amazed to see the facility with which people developed dialogue and friendly relations and reciprocal respect. The desire for unity is strongly felt”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 4/7/2005 righe 25 parole 259)