Saturday, July 12, 2008

WYD, Bathurst: Australian Aborigines

Here at the "Days in the Diocese" (July 9-14, 2008) in Bathurst Diocese, Australia, we had an opportunity to get to know something about the problem of the Australian Aboringines meaning "first or earliest known, indigenous" (Latin Aborigines, from ab: from, and origo: origin, beginning), the indigenous race that is said to have inhabited the Australian continent since about 60,000 years ago!

These people who regarded themselves as caretakers (not possessors) of the land, were generally nomads, who settled near rivers and moved around according to the convenience of the seasons. They spoke over 500 different languages and had their own beliefs, art, music and culture.

However, today, they face many issues related to Stolen Generations, Health, Education, Crime, Unemployment and housing, Substance abuse and Political representation.

In 1971 by Harold Thomas, an Aboriginal artist designed the Australian Aboriginal flag as a protest flag for the land rights movement of Indigenous Australians. Since then it has become a symbol of the Aboriginal people of Australia. The flag is a yellow circle on a horizontally divided field of black and red.

When the Holy Father comes to Australia next week, a country he previously described as the most secularized of all nations, he will address the problems of the rights of the Austrlian Aborigines.

More Photos Here

Here's the ZENIT story:

Pope's Australia Trip to Address Aborigine Rights

Spokesman Says Journey Is Organizationally Complex

VATICAN CITY, JULY 10, 2008 ( A Vatican spokesman says the rights of indigenous Australians -- "trampled for centuries" -- will be a key topic during Benedict XVI's trip Down Under for World Youth Day.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, told journalists Wednesday about some of the details of the Pope's July 12-21 trip, his ninth apostolic journey.

The Holy Father will be accompanied by Cardinals Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals; Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state; and Agostino Vallini, newly appointed vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

Father Lombardi himself will be a member of the papal entourage.

The Jesuit told Vatican Radio that it is "a complex trip from the organizational point of view."

On Saturday, the Pope will leave Castel Gandolfo by helicopter and go to Fiumicino airport, to begin his trip to Sydney in a B777 Alitalia plane. The flight will last 21 hours, including a one and a half hour technical stop in Darwin, Australia.

Upon arriving Sunday, the Pontiff will rest for a few days in a private retreat center run by Opus Dei.

Cardinal Pell, archbishop of Sydney, will open the WYD celebrations on Tuesday. The following day, the Pope will be received by Governor General Michael Jeffrey and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

He will then go to the Mary MacKillop Memorial and continue on to Rose Bay, where he will be welcomed by a group of young Aborigines before embarking on the "Sydney 2000" vessel for his trip to Barangaroo and his official arrival to the Youth Day celebrations.

Father Lombardi said that "the topic of the aborigines and their rights trampled for centuries will be very present in this trip, both in the Pope's words as well as in the addresses of civil authorities."

Among the various meetings planned, the spokesman highlighted two on Friday, July 18, in St. Mary's Cathedral with representatives of other religions, increasingly present in the country due to Asian immigration, and with members of non-Catholic Christian communities.

"It should be noted that Catholics already outnumber Anglicans in Australia," he said, before reviewing with journalists the rest of the meetings, especially the Vigil and Mass at Randwick Racecourse.

Prior to his departure, the Holy Father will meet with benefactors and volunteers of WYD, Father Lombardi added, inviting them to "'go into the deep' to proclaim the Good News to the whole world."

ZENIT link:

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