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Focus on Aboriginal culture


South Australian Catholic schools celebrated Reconciliation Week from May 27 to June 3, including students from St Monica’s Parish School at Walkerville who continued their involvement in the Aboriginal Cultural Residency Program.

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St Monica’s is one of 41 Catholic schools participating in the Catholic Education SA program which engages Aboriginal artists, dancers, film-makers, language experts and cultural custodians to work alongside students and teachers for half a day a week over 10 weeks.

“The program offers the opportunity for school communities to develop authentic relationships with an Aboriginal person, sharing insights, ideas and questions about their experience as Aboriginal Australians and gaining an understanding of reconciliation,” said Matthew Jolly, Inclusion and Learning consultant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

Aboriginal visual artist Chris Crebbin is working with a number of schools as part of the program.

St Monica’s principal Maria Canala said Chris was meeting with all classes but was working more intensively with Year 5s.

“We feel very fortunate to have been part of the project since its inception three years ago and to have the opportunity for students to look at what it is we have in common and what we can learn about the many different Aboriginal cultures,” she said.

“It has given our students and our staff a much deeper understanding of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and their culture, and how it contributes to our lives.”

Parishes marked Reconciliation Week at Mass services on May 26 and will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on July 7.

A resource kit comprising liturgical resources and posters prepared by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) is available at

“As Catholics we can set an example for the rest of Australia to follow by coming together as equals and friends in our schools, parishes and organisations in the name of Jesus Christ and in the spirit on mutual respect and unity as one people,” said Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, chair of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Mass to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday will be held on July 7 at 11am in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.


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