Reconciliation Week commences with National Sorry Day
This Friday 26 May 2017 is commemorated as National Sorry Day. Australians are invited to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. The Indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities are known as the Stolen Generations.
On 26 May 1997 the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families was tabled in Federal Parliament. The ‘Bringing them Home‘ Report, revealed the extent of forced removal policies, which went on for more than 150 years and into the 1980’s.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs annually from 27 May – 3 June. These dates mark two milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey: The 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision, respectively.
In 2017, we reflect on two significant anniversaries in Australia’s reconciliation journey – 50 years since the 1967 referendum, and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision. As we commemorate these significant milestones, we ask all Australians to be a part of the next big steps in our nation’s reconciliation journey.
Holy Father, God of Love,
You are the Creator of all things.
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
and the sufferings of Our peoples,
and we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures
Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another,
as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history
so that we may build a better future for our Nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land. Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.
Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.
May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Wontulp Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group 13 March 1997 Brisbane, Qld).
National Reconciliation Prayer
All creation once declared your glory,
Your laws were honoured and trusted,
Forgive us our neglect as our country approaches
the most critical moment in its history.
Listen to our prayer as we turn to you,
Hear the cry of our land and its people,
Just as you heard the cry of Jesus,
your Son, on the Cross.
Help us to replace our national shame
With true national pride by restoring the
dignity of our First People whose antiquity is unsurpassed.
May our faith and trust in you increase.
Only then will our nation grow strong and be
a worthy place for all who wish to make their home in our land.
© Elizabeth Pike, September 1997
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Melbourne.