Adelaide (Agenzia Fides) - "The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink how to celebrate our special day. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, celebrated on 5 July, this year took place in a digital environment: the Holy Mass, at the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Adelaide, was broadcast in streaming, with the aim of promoting, albeit at a distance, a sense of unity. As Council of the Native Catholics, we prayed and discussed the annual issue for many months. There were several options, but the development of the situation related to the Coronavirus, its effects and the concerns of all our communities illuminated us on the topic to be addressed: 'Together in Spirit'." This is what John Lochowiak, chairman of the Catholic Council of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia, declares in a note sent to Agenzia Fides, on the occasion of the day dedicated to the natives.
The chairman continued: "The Gospel of the day was addressed to all those who feel tired of sharing their burdens with God. For the Australian population, the pandemic came after a long period characterized by forest fires and drought. It is natural for our spirit to get tired, since there are already many burdens in our communities. With the new challenges presented in times like these, it is important to continue to place trust in God and to seek even more to embody the spiritual gifts of empathy, friendship and mutual love".
According to Lochowiak, the "digital" edition of The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday was made possible mainly because social distancing brought members of native communities closer to technology: "Communicating via video has become part of everyday life. This same tool allowed us to meet on July 5 despite the 'tyranny' of distance. To think that many people gathered via web from all over Australia and from abroad to celebrate our faith as Australians and Catholics fills me with pride". The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) is the highest consultative body of the Australian Bishops on issues relating to native communities, which number over 130,000 Catholics. Among the activities under the Council's competence there is the sacramental journey and pastoral care, charitable support for the poor and assistance to the sick and prisoners. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 7/7/2020)