Monday, 13 June 2011 13:41






On Wednesday, there was a centenary celebration on Bathurst Island/ Nguiu.  Besides the centenary Mass, there was the opening of the extension and improvements to the historical museum and a Confirmation ceremony.

Many of those who worked on the island were present, including Sister Anne Gardiner FDNSC, Leo Wearden MSC, along with Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin, Fr John Mulrooney MSC, Provincial Superior, and a number of MSC and OLSH who work or who have worked in the Northern Territory.  They joined local people with the present Parish priest Fr Peter Huan MSC.





(Short homily by John Mulrooney MSC – Provincial of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart)

How wonderful it has been to be part of the celebrations to mark 100 years since the arrival of Bishop Gzell. Yesterday we had the Opening of the extension and improvements to the historical museum followed by the Ceremony of Confirmation last night. You are obviously a very beautiful people, a very good people who have much to share with us.

There are three simple things I wanted to share with you today. The first two you have no doubt heard from many others before today.When

-   Bishop Gsell came here, followed by all those MSC priests and brothers; the OLSH Sisters and later the Christian Brothers and the hundreds of wonderful lay missionaries – they came here to share with you a story about a man from another country, another time and another culture. At that time the old people who were here did not know his name – but they already knew him here, in their hearts. They came to know his name was Jesus. The people knew that God had always been in this land, God had always been in this culture and God had always been in the Tiwi.

-   Perhaps the very early Missionaries came with the idea that they had all the answers to life’s big questions and they were coming to tell you something you did not already know. But most MSC who have been here have said that they have learned more from you than you have learned from them. You have a beautiful culture which is a great gift to share with all people. We have much to learn from you.

-   In the third thing I want to say to you I cannot speak for the OLSH, the Christian Brothers, the lay missionaries – so I speak only for the MSC when I say that none of the MSC men who have been here were perfect men – they had strengths and weaknesses like us all, they made mistakes; at times they did not necessarily understand your culture. However, in the midst of all that humanness I hope (and I know) you found some love and compassion in them.

I say  unreservedly to you, on behalf of the MSC, we are sorry for any harm or hurt we may have caused you or your ancestors. We are sorry for the times was may have misunderstood your culture or made wrong decisions.

I thank you for the ways in which you have welcomed us into your country and your community; for your patience with us. I thank you for everything you have taught each and every one of us. You have enriched our lives and we are indebted to you.

My prayer today is that you will never forget the story of Jesus, that the story will keep being told again and again through the generations. The Heart of Jesus is the very heart of our life here together and is the model of our relating and being with one another.