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MacKillop House Empowers First Nations Communities Through Charitable Initiative

In a display of compassion and solidarity, students, staff, and families of Nazareth Catholic College’s MacKillop House extended their unwavering support to the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, their chosen House Charity during Term 2. This philanthropic effort aimed to enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics, who form a significant segment of South Australia’s population.

South Australia is home to nearly 4000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics, with approximately 10% of the Indigenous population in the region identifying as Catholic. In Adelaide, the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry has been a vital institution for over three decades, providing invaluable support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics. For many, it serves as a welcoming hub upon their arrival from rural areas.

Central to the Ministry’s mission is improving lives through tailored programs designed to foster self-esteem, healing, and a profound sense of belonging and self-worth. Among the services offered is the provision of toiletry bags to individuals undergoing unexpected hospital stays or those needing personal care items. Recognising the significance of this initiative, Nazareth students took it upon themselves to create these essential toiletry bags while also organizing a House lunch to raise funds for the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry.

Under the inspiring leadership of Year 12 House Captains, Demi Bacasetas and Ada Skolanja, and with support from the middle school student leaders, MacKillop House embarked on a mission to assemble the toiletry bags. Spearheaded by Ann-Marie Springhetti (7-12 Food and Technologies Teacher), dedicated volunteers came together during lunchtime sessions to skilfully sew draw-string bags to hold the toiletry items.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Nazareth families and students, a total of 50 toiletry bags were created, accompanied by two full boxes of additional items. A sum of $1,060 was also raised to support the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry’s endeavours further.

The culmination of this work unfolded during a dedicated MacKillop House assembly in June, when the House Captains and student leaders proudly presented their contributions to John Lochowiak, the The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) Chairperson, Councillor and Public Officer for South Australia.

Students and staff were privileged to experience a smoking ceremony, engage in a welcome to country, and deepen their understanding of Aboriginal culture, spirituality, and the pastoral work of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, as explained by John himself.

“We would like to sincerely thank the entire MacKillop family – students, staff and parents – for bringing to life the call of Mary MacKillop; ‘never see a need without doing something about it’” expressed Nazareth House Leaders Mrs Joanne Dametto and Mr Du Nguyen.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank John Lochowiak for sharing in our learning. We look forward to cultivating and strengthening the relationship between Nazareth and the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry,” they said.

The MacKillop House already has plans to continue their efforts into the second half of this year by visiting the Ministry Centre to participate in cooking classes, traditional dancing, liturgical celebration and donate hand-made friendship bracelets.

These noble acts of kindness highlight the power of unity, empathy, and selflessness. By channelling their resources and efforts toward supporting the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Nazareth’s compassionate students have set an inspiring example for their peers and the wider community, demonstrating the immeasurable impact that can be achieved through collaborative goodwill.


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