Monday, 24 September 2007

Torres Strait Islands DAY 2 – Hammond Island

Monday September 24th

On Monday we took the Cross and Icon to Hammond Island. We found some ‘creative solutions’ to getting the Cross and Icon from place to place and into or onto vehicles that at first sight just didn’t seem big enough to take them, but we always got there in the end.

The people of Hammond Island also gave us a great welcome and processed the Cross and Icon up the hill to the unique Hammond Church. When you know something of the history of that stone Church on the hill carrying the heavy Cross and Icon up there gave only a small insight into the enormous labour of love that had taken place over same years to carry the necessary rocks and sand and other materials the locals had used to hand-make their Church.

Fr Mullins celebrated a Mass of the Triumph of the Cross once we were all seated in the Church before the invitation to WYD08 was extended to the young people and an opportunity to spend some personal time with the Cross and Icon was given. Hearing the Hammond Islanders sing some of their Island hymns in language was truly beautiful.

It became really clear to me just how much the people of the Torres Strait should be supported to be present in numbers at the WYD08 celebrations in Sydney next July. John Paul II’s words to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples in Alice Springs in 1986 rang out in my head… ‘You are part of Australia and Australia is part of you, and the Church in Australia will not fully be the Church Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her and that contribution has been joyfully received.’ I told the young people gathered how much WYD08 needs to have them represented, making their unique contribution next July, or our celebration will not be complete. Many are eager to make the long pilgrimage to Sydney.

Our time with the Cross and Icon was concluded with an evening rosary back in the Church at TI.

Matt and I were so privileged to have been welcomed into the Torres Strait and would like to thank all those who extended such warm and generous hospitality to us, in particular – Mary, Fr Mullins, Ephraim, Pat, Marie, Margaret and the Kaurereg Elders.

Alice – JCI Team.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for those reflections Alice- you are spot on about the need to get Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to Sydney. It's definitely something I've been thinking about. Here's hoping we can do something about it! Enjoy the rest of the warm weather before heading south!

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