Fr Darryl Mackie says it was a “very honouring experience” when he was presented to Sydney’s Aboriginal Catholic community as its new chaplain on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.
Fr Frank Brennan SJ was the main celebrant at the 1 July Mass at the packed Reconciliation Church at La Perouse.
He presented Fr Darryl to the community’s elders, Aunty Elsie Heiss, Aunty Gloria Martin, and Uncle John Allen.
“The elders were very pleased and I was really honoured,” said Fr Darryl, who is also the chaplain at St Vincent’s private hospital.
He is looking forward to bringing his parish experience to the community, which is beginning its first ever sacramental program this year – with the Aboriginal Catholic ministry team preparing a group of children for confirmation in November.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP appointed Fr Darryl to his new role at the beginning of June.
He has already worked in ministry with Aboriginal Catholic communities in Newcastle and Taree.
Last Sunday during his homily Fr Brennan spoke about the gains in the appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and heritage that have been made in recent decades in this country.
Last month Australia’s Parliament House celebrated its 30 year anniversary, beginning with a smoking ceremony, the presence of elders, and with Aboriginal people numbering among its parliamentarians, he said.
In contrast, he said, when the parliament was opened the only Aboriginal person there was the artist who designed part of the forecourt.
“So it feels like it’s been two steps forward and one step back, but in 30 years things are getting a bit better,” Fr Darryl said.
He says the most important thing he will be aiming to do in his new role is “listening and walking the journey with people”.
“That was the other really great thing that Fr Frank Brennan said, that true reconciliation is not only about justice, but proof of [a commitment to] justice. It’s about walking the walk.”
Each first Sunday of the month through most of the year Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are welcome to join the church’s 11am Mass.
For more information visit www.aboriginal.sydneycatholic.org or call 9311 0918.