By Dr Mark Copland
The Australian Indigenous community have last week highlighted that it is always special to celebrate Mass as a community in one language.
Diocese of Broome Director of Pastoral Projects, Dr Mark Copland has last week spoken to The Record to recount how the Mass was celebrated in not one – but six languages in the Kimberley community of Bidyadanga, Sunday 25 June.
Members of Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral Parish in Broome travelled two hours to join the celebrations with local Elder Aunty Shirley Quaresmin highlighting how the little church came alive with prayer and praise.
“The community was so grateful that we could join them on this special occasion” Aunty Shirley said.
When asked about the 50-year anniversary of Missa Kimberley in Bidyadanga, parish leader Madeleine Jadai stated she felt very emotional.
“Bidyadanga is one of the places where Missa Kimberley started when we were kids,” Ms Jadai said.
“Our old people have been celebrating in this way for so long. It brings us together. Our way, our culture and our languages with the liturgy – they come together,” she said.
“Our Aboriginal spirituality comes together in the Mass and it’s very meaningful. This is how we get in touch with God and our old people. This Mass helps us to grow strong in our faith. It helps us connect deep in our hearts,” Ms Jadai said.
In celebration of the National Aboriginal Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week theme ‘For Our Elders’ the Diocese of Broome celebrated the 50th anniversary Missa Terra Spiritus Sancti, formerly Missa Kimberley.
Young and old, visitors and parishioners came together to celebrate the Mass in a special Kimberley way, Sunday 2 July, with standing room only in Broome’s Cathedral marking both the 50th anniversary of the Mass of the Land of the Holy Spirit and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.
“This was the best celebration we have had for a long time,” Aunty Shirley said, who is a member of the Cathedral Parish Council and is Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC).
“Everybody was filled with a spirit of unity and hope,” she said.
The Mass concluded with an acknowledgement of parishioner Liz Davie receiving the 2023 NATSICC Service to Community Award, as well as the blessing song for all elders present – Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous.
Guests for the occasion included the niece of Missa Kimberley Mass co-writer Fr Kevin McKelson – Mary Malone.