Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted

For more than 3 decades St Vincent’s Church, Redfern has offered comfort to grieving Aboriginal families who came, far too often, to bury their loved ones.

After Ted Kennedy’s departure, the various priests appointed to the parish have alienated the Aboriginal community to the point where, in the words of one of their spokespeople, they are made to feel as lepers in their own Church. You can imagine the grief felt by the whole St Vincent’s Community when it was made clear by Neocat priests Prindiville and Sudla that only "card carrying Catholics" could be buried from the Church. [{rdlc id=561}]

On Friday, 4 February 2005, Fr John Ford officiated at the first Aboriginal funeral held at St Vincent’s since Ted’s departure nearly 3 years ago, leading us in a poignant ceremony in true Aboriginal style.

Aunty Judy Gundy, respected elder and part of our community for over 30 years, broke through the barriers with her dying wish to be buried from the Church that so many Aboriginal people look upon as their own. The Gundy family spared no effort to ensure that her wish was fulfilled. [see Sr Marnie Kennedy’s account of the funeral in the Thoughts for the Month {rdlc id=541}]

Within a week we had the funeral of a young Aboriginal woman, Michelle Riley. Again several hundred people poured into the Church in response to a young life that had poured out so much love. Again Fr John Ford officiated.

Many expressed gratitude to be coming home to the old Church.

May the doors of St Vincent’s never again be closed to Aboriginal people.

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