On the 16th of September the CSYMA Mission to the Northern Territory began with CSYMA students, YMA Youth Ministers and teachers from the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn led by Nathan Galea stepping out and saying yes to what was going to be an incredible mission filled with joy, love and God.
The Ministry Trip to the Northern Territory, Darwin and the community of Nauiya (Daly River), created an opportunity to engage in dadirri, deep listening and silent awareness. In our first gathering with Miriam Rose Ungunmerr, she expressed the significance of being welcomed to Country and the importance of awakening the spirit child within each of us. The welcoming ritual within the Daly River, including the use of water to awaken our inner spirit, was an experience filled with unexplainable emotion, an experience that created an immediate bond with the people and the land. I could never accurately describe in words the feeling, and put this down to developing a simple sense of dadirri, a still awareness, an inner peace to be present to the world around me.
During our time in community, we were blessed with the presence of Agnes, Troy and Louise as we headed out “bush”. It was a privilege to be immersed in story, culture, ritual and building relationships with the people and land. The experience validated a centrally held belief of the beauty of the indigenous people and culture of our nation, one that counteracts the image portrayed by mainstream media.
What was truly inspiring on this trip was watching the CSYMA students be true witnesses of faith. Pope Francis encouraged young people to ‘build bridges not walls’, to be ‘courageous and free’, and that is exactly what these young people did for the entire time. They were open to their faith, to each other and to all those they met. Their energy was palpable and their ability to share their stories in light of their faith was moving. This ministry trip empowered the young people to grow personally and spiritually, participate in the life of the Church through mission and be able to express hope for a better future for all.