Broome, Western Australia –Two Augustinian Recollects priests Fray James Bumangabang who works as Director of University of San Jose-Recoletos in Balamban Campus, Toledo Cebu also involved in the University’s Research Department and Fray Abraham Latoza Basic Education Director and the Senior High School Principal from University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod City Philippines attend ASEACCU 2016– the annual gathering of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the South East Asia. This year’s theme is “Valuing indigenous Cultures and Traditions in the Care of our Common Home.”
The ASEACCU team has chosen Broome located in the Western part of Australia engaging with the Yawuru indigenous community, a thriving group of the land since time immemorial. Way back in 1778 when the British occupied settlements in Australia. “It was also a history of subjugation, racial discrimination and of taking over of lands of the indigenous people,” the speaker noted. In the opening day, the delegates are introduced to the Art of Aboriginal Yawuru on exhibit at the Notre Dame University Library.
The Yawuru Indigenous perspectives on “Laudato Si” is expounded by the keynote speaker, a native of Broome. Buru-Gara-gara is a term used by the speaker to describe the interrelatedness of Yawuru people to the environment, to the community, and to the almighty. The same quintessential element as they claim their rights and dignity stipulated in Genesis, and has reverberated in the Encyclical Laudato Si of Pope Francis and to pursue their human and social determination which in the course of time suffered a lot of abuse, inhumane isolation of a community in the margin and of radical washing away of unique culture of Yawuru.
Dawning Challenge – What response can be made to address a similar struggle in each country is a dawning challenge posed to the students and staff of ASEACCU delegates. It calls for a holistic program to do best in helping, collaborating with the indigenous peoples.
Laudato Si: Theology of the Land In the second session, the Australian expert and Professor a Catholic priest Reverend Fr. Dennis Edwards has elaborated the Theological reflections on Laudato Si. His presentation expounds Pope Francis theology of Land and the intrinsic value of creatures, which he said, “we all must respect.” He adds as it is indicated in Laudato si that “soil, water, and mountains are the caress of God.” He concluded his talk on the Sublime communion of Creation as it flows from the communion of the Holy Trinity.
Nulungu Chapel – During the Homily, the Parish priest who spoke in a crispy English with Spanish accent, though, has underlined the number of those who had been nurtured and educated in this host the University of Notre Dame in Broome who eventually became a priest. Accordingly, the University is proud to announce it had already produced 150 Catholic priests serving Australian Diocese and its missions in all parts of the globe.
Convergence – The afternoon session is about sharing of the best practices and suggestions were lobbied from different groups clustered into Research Collaboration, Campus Ministry and Community Engagement, Planning, and Online Education. It works well that it has identified some pressing needs of those institutions 2 26 August 2016 that requires immediate advice so that whatever questions can be approached if not substantiated.
ASEACCU Executive a Filipino – After seven or eight years serving ASEACCU as Executive Secretary Fr. Michael Calmano, SVD is replaced by a Filipino Dominican Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, President of the Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas in Manila Philippines. In his Welcome address, he invoked the support of the member schools to continue the Catholic mission in educating the young people as a pursuit of justice care of creation and evangelization all over South East Asia and the world.
Meeting – After the Break the President has convoked a Meeting tackling the most important agenda on amendments, financial matters and finalizing the date and venue for the next ASEACCU 2017 which will be held in Bankok Thailand to be hosted by the Assumption University.
Yawuru Art – What caught everyone’s attention before the Conference formally opens is the Yawuru Art on display at the Library Hall of the University of Notre Dame. The Yawuru artists render a stunning color chemistry and preference, a unique style of figurative expression with matching characteristics of pointillism. In its aesthetics taste, what comes out is the description of nature, its powers, and mysteries elaborated in commonly brown to orange light and shades resembling that of Central Australia’s red Rock and soil which is the fundamental source of riches and ancestral connection to life, creation and man’s daily affairs. It is more of an identity. It shows an open embrace of a culture because of its long vertical and horizontal strokes and at the same time cheerful movement is depicted leading any art enthusiast to feel a celebration. As it suggests it speaks of one common thing. You paint what you love. You love what you paint. It is more of an identity. As it suggests it speaks of one common thing. You paint what you love. – 26 August 2016 [ Fray Abraham Latoza, OAR University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Bacolod City PH]