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Changing the world... one friendship at a time

As another busy year of immersions comes to a close, Catholic Mission’s specialist team is looking ahead to 2018, with Indigenous immersions in Alice Springs emerging as a key focus for next year. Patrick Fox, the Education Manager of Catholic Mission’s Immersions program, says the past year has been a successful one for the team, as preparations continue for a hectic schedule in 2018. ‘We conducted 28 immersions this year, with over 360 participants from all around Australia,’ he said. ‘We had school and adult groups coming from every corner of Australia; from Hobart, Melbourne, Mt Gambier, Perth, Rockhampton, Bathurst, Sydney and others. One of the strengths of the program is its reach to the vast Church network in Australia and around the world.’ The network of participant groups is extensive, but so is the network of in-country partners who host each immersion. The relationships developed with host partners in Timor-Leste, Cambodia, the Philippines, Zambia, and remote Australia are one of the most critical elements of the program. ‘Catholic Mission has been supporting these communities for years and it is through these relationships that we can offer participants these face-to-face privileged experiences, which is key to the richness of the program,’ says Mr Fox. Again in 2017, the program was a hit with participants, who lauded the transformative benefits of the uniquely tailored immersion experiences. ‘The immersion experience frequently awakens and draws out of students their compassionate orientation to the world,’ says Eammon Pollard, Principal of Mary Mackillop Catholic College in Hobart. ‘[It] achieves in ten days what we hope to achieve over four years.’ The Indigenous immersions, which in 2017 included Alice Springs, Kununurra, Warralong, Palm Island and Lombadina, were equally popular, especially with students. ‘I will take away from this immersion experience what I learnt about

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Aboriginal spirituality and culture in Alice Springs … and the way in which my mind has opened to learning more about this culture,’ said one student. ‘I hope that I can share my experiences and encourage the younger grades, and the people I interact with, to take the opportunity to visit Central Australia and immerse themselves in the culture, history and spirituality,’ said another. Alice Springs will become the primary destination for Australian immersions in 2018, says Mr Fox, with Cambodia and Timor-Leste to host a large proportion of the expected 30 immersion trips. Luke Tobin, Catholic Mission’s Formation Educator, says the immersion experience in Alice Springs, the place of the Arrernte People, is unlike any other. ‘The immersion offers an insight into the Arrernte’s deep spiritual connection to the land, their strength and resilience in dealing with colonisation, and some of the complexities of current issues,’ he says. ‘There are many people and places to experience which highlight examples of courage, persistence, healing and forgiveness as well as being made aware of continual struggles for Arrernte to this day.’ For more information about Catholic Mission Immersions, head to catholicmission.org.au/immersions or call toll-free 1800 257 296.

‘The immersion experience frequently awakens and draws out of students their compassionate orientation to the world. [It] achieves in ten days what we hope to achieve over four years.’ M i s s i o n To d a y - A C a t h o l i c M i s s i o n M a g a z i n e

Mission Today - SUMMER-AUTUMN 2017-18  

In this issue of Mission Today, there is an overarching theme of empowerment through innovative education and training programs, with storie...

Mission Today - SUMMER-AUTUMN 2017-18  

In this issue of Mission Today, there is an overarching theme of empowerment through innovative education and training programs, with storie...

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