On 29 November 1986 Pope John Paul II addressed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Alice Springs. Because of its historic importance, Catholics around Australia will celebrate the 30th anniversary on Sunday 27 November. The celebration calls for reflection on progress towards justice for indigenous Australians. Moreover, it challenges Catholics to joyfully receive the gifts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 1986 John Paul II said:
You are part of Australia and Australia is part of you. And the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others. – Pope John Paul II, Alice Springs, 29 November 1986.
As well as looking back, the anniversary invites the Church in Australia to look forward. In this way it calls on Catholics to work with renewed commitment for justice and inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
To celebrate the anniversary, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council are offering an online resource. It aims at helping the whole community to celebrate the event. Importantly, the resource makes the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people heard. In this way it challenges the general community to reflect on indigenous perspectives on the event, and the significance of its anniversary. In addition, the resource provides activities and highlights ways in which all people can act on contemporary challenges.
To access the NATSICC Resource for the 30th anniversary of the Alice Springs address visit this page.
Read the Full Text of the Alice Springs Address
You can read the official text of John Paul II’s speech at Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory here.
Learn About Catholic Social Teaching on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Learn more about what Catholic Social Teaching has to say about the rights of indigenous peoples by visiting this page.