30 young Indigenous Catholics attended the 2010 Leadership Gathering in Brisbane from 13-16 May. The Australian Catholic University were kind enough to sponsor the event by allowing us to use their facilities and their staff were very generous with their time.

The group was made up of youth ranging from 16 – 30 and from remote areas such as Santa Teresa and Urban centres like Perth and Melbourne.


The focus of the Gathering was to listen and share with the future of our Church. In doing so we held workshops on developing social networks such as Facebook and listening to renowned Elders Evelyn Parkin and Joan Hendriks. They explained how Religion and Indigenous Spirituality go hand in hand.


Sean Choolburra spoke to the group. Sean was a member of Bangarra dance company and has been featured on various television programs. He is a very positive role model for our youth. Elwyn Henaway from ACU was kind enough to take the group on a cultural tour of the local area. There are very special places very close to ACU.



Workshop Videos

Workshop Outcomes

he important outcomes of our workshops were:


How can we get youth to come back to the Church?

The following suggestions were made by the group of 30 Young Indigenous Catholics from all States and Territories of Australia (exc. TAS, ACT):

• Combine Church ways with our own local indigenous stories

• Promotion and community engagement strategies between school and parishes of Catholic NAIDOC masses/celebrations open to all Schools

• Generalisations of what Catholic School and Parishes offer – concession of school fees (stereotyping)

• Youth group/ministry in parishes

• Relevant wording of readings – translation into language

• Allocating roles and jobs within the mass to youth

• Social events

• Find out what made Indigenous youth leave?  Acknowledgement of these issues

• Start with the tweens now, the 10-12 years audience

• Networking between youth groups and organisations

• Asking young people to be involved

• Interaction with young people – not just talk at

• Young people to be listened to – some difficulty in terms of culture of elders

• Music, games, stories about the Bible – keep it simple

• Use of technology

• Involvement of family members, i.e. parents

• Sharing our pride, spiritual beliefs to rebuild sense of pride

• Awareness and flexibility within community as to most effective times to schedule mass – i.e. not when footy is on

• Retreat on country to share culture and faith, bush trips

• Support opportunities for men’s and women’s gatherings separately

The next question asked of the group is –

What can I do?

The responses to this question:

• Start a youth group

• Encourage young people to get involved

• Talk to the parish about what youth wants

• Share my story and culture

• Be a role model against racism

• Invite a friend/family/member

• Welcome all new people, so they feel at home

• Donate money for offering

• Contribute a prayer/to begin & end mass

• Help form a group

• Donate goods for less fortunate

• Being positive role models to others by going to church and being involved with the church

• Target hang out areas

• General invitations out to all students and all local Indigenous organizations for any church event – use technology

• Help youth with their manners and narrowing down on how they use the church terminology and explain to youth in an easy manner of the bible, instead of them using irrelevant manners towards the church and other youth.

• Volunteering – time & knowledge, music talents

• Start a church youth band

• Sharing cross-cultural relations/stories/traditions

• Ask young people who go to church to invite other young people

• Get young people together to start a youth group

• Promote to others that it’s a great experience

• Liaise with the church & youth as to what type of activities they want & what the church wants

• Movie night

• Add more indigenous aspect

• Go bush and invite Father to talk alongside an elder about the change of  kid to man

• Engage our community e.g. have BBQ after doing activities


The event was very successful with hopes that it becomes an annual event.


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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069

www.natsicc.org.au   |   craig@natsicc.org.au   | 08 8363 2963