By Janice Kennedy (Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Penrith, New South Wales)
As one of the Stolen Generation I grew up on the Aboriginal mission at Bowraville on the New South Wales north coast. For about ten years I have been a member of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM) in Penrith, New South Wales.
I first met Redemptorist Fr Phil Medlin through Sr Naomi Smith. I have always found him very easy to approach and to speak with. Fr Phil helps in any way he can. He has done a lot for the ACM over the years and does a lot of work in our community. He visits the jails, the women’s prisons and men’s prison on different occasions.
Fr Phil has Mass in the jails with the Aboriginal inmates. I know that it brings them a lot of peace within themselves in their time of need. He made it possible for many members of the ACM to visit Uluru and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory during September 2006. Without doubt, Fr Phil does a wonderful job in the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry at Penrith.
By Jenny Ebsworth (Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Penrith, New South Wales)
I am a Murawari woman. I was born in north-west New South Wales in the Brewarina district. I grew up in an Aboriginal reserve. My first involvement with ACM was through attending their spirituality weekends. I gradually came to know Sr Naomi and then Fr Phil Medlin.
I found Fr Phil very easy to approach and a very caring person for all Aboriginal people. He is very kind and genuine and is always willing to help out in any situation. Because of that involvement, I started to attend the Masses held each Sunday at ACM. I liked it so much that I decided to be baptised and also have the members of my family baptised.
Being a member of ACM has enriched my life. I find I am more involved in the community because of the different activities that we are doing: learning to use computers, and attending workshops on domestic violence, diabetes, advocacy, and social justice.
I like the openness of the ACM which allows our Aboriginal community to have access to society. The openness also makes it possible for us to have yarn-ups and carer’s days and gives us a forum in which to welcome people.
Fr Phil encourages us in taking part in the Mass and to become more involved in the Catholic Church. I feel that he is a great educator and is willing to assist us in any way. I feel that we are very blessed to have such a wonderful Father.