OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART CHURCH
WADEYE (PORT KEATS)
STORY OF THE PARISH
Fr. Richard Docherty MSC made the official start of the Port Keats mission in 1935. He arrived with two boats accompanied by several local Port Keats people with some Bathurst Islanders resident in Darwin, some lay missionaries and the respected anthropologist Dr. Bill Stanner. Within a couple of years Fr. Docherty was joined by the MSC Brothers Frank Quinn and Dennis McCarthy, who built the necessary infrastructure, established a cattle project and food producing gardens. In March 1941, three sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Dionysius (Eileen Mulhall), Xavier Dwyer and Magdalene McNamara began to teach the children basic skills, and staffed a mission kitchen. In the late 1940’s dormitories for both boys and girls were built. The Sisters also staffed a hospital. In 1981, the Christian Brothers of the Queensland Province began work in the school and developed programs for young adults. A number of the local Indigenous women joined the Sisters as religious. The first married Indigenous deacon in Australia, Boniface Perdjert was ordained at Port Keats in 1974. Changes in Australian Government policy during the 1970’s brought changes for Church personnel as they vacated administrative roles in the community for the more pastoral role.
FAITH LIFE AND MISSION OF THE PARISH
The Parish is committed to an ongoing dialogue with our Indigenous sisters and brothers as we move forward. Deacon Boniface Perdjert describes it as follows:
“God has asked us to love Him with our whole mind, heart and soul. So I must give myself to God as an Aboriginal. That is what God wants or else he would not have made me what I am. Really it is the only way I can go about it.
When I read the gospels, I read them as an Aboriginal. There are many things in the gospel that make me happy to be an Aboriginal because I think we have a good start. So many of the things that Christ said and did, and the way he lived, make me think of the good things in our way of life…We find it easy to see in Christ the great dreamtime figure, who, more than all the others gave us law and ceremony and life centres, and marked out the way we must follow to reach our true country... So it is not difficult to realize that Christ is with us always…the same yesterday, today and forever. We do not find it strange when he says He is the life, that we can and must live with His life, that in this life of His we are one. In some way he lives in us and is us, so that what we do for each other we do for Him”
Deacon Boniface Perdjert, Port Keats.
Fr. Leo Wearden MSC - Priest in Charge,
Rev. Boniface Perdjert - Deacon
Sr Yvonne Gleason & Sr Emmanuel Chapman OLSH - Religious
Br Vince Roche, Br Eamon O’Brien CFC - Religious
CELEBRATING THE SACRAMENTS
Tuesday: 6.00 pm
Sunday: Nganmarriyanga 9.30 am
Wadeye 6.00 pm
Reconciliation before Sunday Mass
FIRST RECONCILIATION, FIRST HOLY COMMUNION AND CONFIRMATION
Children are prepared at OLSH THAMARRUR CATHOLIC SCHOOL.
Contact: Alanga Nganbe REC Primary School Campus and Ursula Kinthari Secondary School Campus REC. OLSH THAMARRUR CATHOLIC SCHOOL
School leavers to see Fr Leo or Church leaders for other arrangements.
Postal Address: PO Box 12, Wadeye, NT 0822.
Ph: (08) 8978 2368
Fax (08) 8978 2103