Pope Francis has recalled St. John Paul II’s words in a letter to indigenous Australians, urging them to never lose their identity nor tradition.
The letter sent by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canberra Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana to John Lochowiak, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council was to recall the 30th anniversary of Saint Pope John Paul II’s words to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Alice Springs, Australia on Nov. 29, 1986.
“This anniversary,” the Pope stated in his letter, “affords me the happy opportunity to express my deep esteem for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for your ancient cultural heritage.”
Saying he “united” his voice with that of his predecessor, St. John Paul II, Francis encouraged them repeating the Polish Pontiff’s words:
“Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost.”
The Holy Father also reminded them that when they share their community’s ‘noble’ traditions, they also ‘witness to the power of the Gospel to perfect and purify every society, and in this way God’s holy will is accomplished.”
Praying that this occasion provides them an opportunity to deepen their love for Christ and each other, Pope Francis concluded, commending all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the intercession of Saint Mary of the Cross McKillop, and imparting his Apostolic Blessing.
On the NET:
Pope’s Letter: http://www.natsicc.org.au/assets/papal-letter.pdf