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of taking only what you need is a supreme example of being a steward of the precious gift of life. As Aboriginal people are thrust into western culture with its excesses and the focus on material possessions, never before has the concept of being a steward for the community been so important. We are all stewards for the next generation. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (LS 160). As the traditional family unit of Aboriginal people has been disrupted over the years, never before has it been so important for Elders to be given a place and position in being positive role models to youth.

Stewardship is intrinsic to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Catholic paradigm of stewardship calls us to be grateful to God for the gifts provided and to reciprocate by entwining God in all aspects of our life, not only when it is convenient. Those who live their lives with a sense of entitlement are bound to become slaves to the never ending pursuit for more. Aboriginal Catholics have long strived for the Church community to bear

witness to their God given talents and gifts. The inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on the Liturgical Calender has rewarded congregations nationally with artwork, music and displays of the depth of faith that Indigenous people have. I feel that a change in acceptance has been evident in the Church for some years now and it has allowed Aboriginal people the opportunity to become stewards – an opportunity that will not be lost. In his Apostolic Exhortation – Ecclesia in Oceania, Pope John Paul II stated “The Catholic communities of Oceania are increasingly confident about what they have to offer to the universal Church and, in turn, the Church rejoices in the special gifts that these communities contribute” (EO 15). Pope John Paul II stated that the special love of the Creator for each human being “confers upon him or her an infinite dignity” (LS 65). Laudato Si’ shows that the spiritual bond of Indigenous with the environment is a matter of common sense. “Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood,


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The Francis Effect II - Praised Be You - On Care for our Common Home  

Twelve prominent Catholic leaders from various sectors and ministries of the Australian Church offer their perspectives on Pope Francis’ enc...

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