Charity & Giving

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry

This organisation is a service of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Description Restructure of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry

The Archdiocese of Sydney has commenced a restructure of its Aboriginal Catholic Ministry to ensure a long-term and sustainable future. The restructure is in response to Aboriginal peoples developing needs, will do even more to support this important ministry and will ensure we make the best use of our people and resources. This has occurred following consultation with Aboriginal Catholic personnel here in Sydney and in other Dioceses.

There are currently three areas where Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM) services are provided in the Sydney Archdiocese – The Reconciliation Church at La Perouse; an administrative and central ACM office at Alexandria; and the Aboriginal Women’s Healing House at Picton. In addition the Archdiocese already provides support through the Catholic Education Office and CatholicCare. Recently the Archdiocese, in collaboration with the Jesuit Fathers, has committed to support a new aboriginal school, Jarjum, at Redfern.

These services are vital components in future plans and will be strengthened under the new arrangements. The Archbishop, Cardinal Pell has made it very clear the needs of Aboriginal services in the Archdiocese are changing and escalating and the Archdiocese needs to keep pace with those changes by introducing new directions. He has said support for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders is an issue to which he is deeply and personally committed, and it is one that the Catholic Church in Australia is very much focused upon. The aim and purpose of the ACM is to promote reconciliation and mutual understanding, taking responsibility for the pastoral care of Catholic Aborigines and supporting them in the living of their Faith. The work of the Ministry also provides an interface between all Indigenous people and the Catholic Church, it represents the concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and acts as an advocate on their behalves, as well as providing certain services such as counseling and access to education directed towards practical assistance. Such services as these will continue to be strengthened and supported.

The new plans include:

1. CatholicCare to be responsible for service delivery with Aboriginal staff.

2. Consolidate and expand activities of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry at La Perouse.

3. Changes to the operations at Alexandria which will become a pastoral and welfare centre only.

4. Closure of Healing House at Picton and the commitment of the sale proceeds into a special trust to support Aboriginal pastoral initiatives.

To ensure a smooth transition, a special interim committee is being established. The Acting Chairperson will be the Chancellor of the Archdiocese. Also included on the interim committee will be Fr Brian Egan (ACM Chaplain), Fr Jim Carty (CatholicCare Pastoral Services) as well as senior Aboriginal leaders.

Monsignor Usher, on behalf of the Cardinal, has this week, thanked the staff of the ACM and in particular, those staff who will be leaving the Archdiocese as a result of the restructure. He made special mention of the long service of Ms Brenda McDonnell and Ms Barbra Asplet both of whom will conclude their service on Friday 17th December.

For further information and media inquiries please contact Ms Katrina Lee at Catholic Communications on 9390 5300.

For services for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in the Sydney Archdiocese please contact the Reconciliation Church on 02 9311 0918
Telephone (02) 9698 4265
Contact ACM Co-ordinator: Elsie Heiss -