Members gift blankets, children’s pillows and clothing to Nauiyu community
Report by Sean Parnell, Hospitaller for the Northern Central Region
On Sunday, 21st June, three members of the Northern Central Region drove 230 kms south from Darwin to Nauiyu community west of Katherine on the Daly River. The area was previously a source of copper mining. After stopping briefly stop at Adelaide River we turned off the Stuart highway and continued 70 kms to the Nauiyu community on the large and picturesque Daly River.
The population of Nauiyu is around 450 people – 86 per cent Aboriginal, most speaking English, and largely Catholic. There are 10 different language groups but the traditional owners of the land are the Malak Malak people of whom there now three Elders who are three ladies in their 70’s. They were happy to receive a present of mainly blankets. A few kilometres away, Nauiyu community township consists of residential housing, a store, school, health clinic and police station. There are difficulties in having 10 tribal families living closely in Country.
By 4.50 pm we had arrived at the Presbytery – originally part of a Jesuit Mission. The Presbytery has wonderful views of the river complete with a 2 metre crocodile on a tidal sandbank.
St Francis Xavier Catholic School is educating 55 children ranging from years 1-10. This school is an Indigenous Catholic Community School with nine teaching staff drawn from all over Australia helped by local Indigenous teaching assistants.
Mass with Fr Peter was celebrated in the beautiful little St Francis Xavier church. Following Mass, several blankets, very popular children’s pillows, and clothing were distributed to Indigenous Mass attenders. Other items such as Childrens’ “God speaks to His Children” booklets, Rosary Bead packs and more blankets will be distributed later by Fr Peter and Kellie Mc Ginlay. It was a most joyful and grace-filled occasion with gifts well received.
Later, after dinner at the Daly River Tavern, we arrived in Darwin at 10.30 pm.
In conclusion, the day was a time of grace and a wonderful experience for all concerned, and we thank Our Lord, Fr Peter, Fr Ched and everyone else involved in making this a successful event.