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03 Jul 2017
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Retreat helps principals explore Aboriginal spirituality

Last week members of the Catholic Secondary Principals (APCSS) gathered in Victor Harbor for a retreat with the focus being Aboriginal Spirituality. It was an opportunity for the principals to experience Aboriginal Spirituality as a living source of wisdom and encounter with God and to engage with Aboriginal Spirituality as a pathway into their own encountering God in the land, through silence and reflective dialogue.

The retreat team of Cathy Whewell and Roma Aloisi, along with Aboriginal presenters Pastor Ray Minniecon and Jonathan Hermawan, led the principals through the three days.

The group reflected on experiences (like Moses) of being on Holy Ground in their lives, were welcomed to Ngarrindjeri land and dreaming by Uncle Alan Sumner at Granite Island before walking the island together with Indigenous colleagues in a powerful symbol of unity and reconciliation.

There was silent time with the land and the opportunity for deep listening and the chance to feel the presence of the Great Creator, as well as the chance to yarn together and explore and share our own understandings.

Some of the principals including Noel Mifsud (CBC), Greg Hay (St Mark’s) and Damien Judd (Samaritan College) spoke of their experiences of working in Indigenous communities or of issues involving Aboriginal spirituality within their schools.

The retreat concluded with a powerful liturgy on Goolwa Beach - a smoking ceremony that linked with Jesus on the shore, sharing a meal with His friends. This was a ceremony that involved healing, forgiveness and mission.

The principals felt greatly blessed to have had the opportunity to share these days together exploring such profound matters. As one principal wrote, 'it was a wonderful opportunity for rest and connection, reflection and a chance to move just a little further forward on the road to reconciliation'.

Article submitted by Lou Flint - Executive Officer, Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools (APCSS)

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