Meet the Team - Helping our Mob grow in faith and culture


Vicky Burrows

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Perth born and raised Wadjella and have lived here most of my life apart from a few years as National Coordinator of the Young Christian Students Movement where I lived in Townsville (QLD), Shepparton (Victoria) and regional South Australia. I am the eldest of two children to Debbie and Glenn whom are/were both nurses and the sister to Harry. I haven’t always been Catholic but was inspired by the faith witnesses of teachers and students at Chisholm Catholic College who seemed to really live the Gospel of love, justice and compassion in their work in the community. I am a singer and loved joining in the choir at Mass and decided to join the church when I was 14. In my professional life I have worked in Youth Ministry, Youth Work, Community Development, Aboriginal Health, Reconciliation, Education and most recently as a Prison Chaplain.

What is your role at the Ministry? I am the Director/Coordinator of the Team. My role is to make sure that the ACM is meeting the needs of the Aboriginal community and doing this within the Mandate from our Archbishop. On a day to day basis that involves; working with the team, council, schools, the Church, finances, visiting community, doing training and administration. All sorts of fun stuff!

What do you like about working at the Ministry? I love that I get to meet with so many different people from different backgrounds and experiences, young and old. My faith and life is enriched sitting with members of our Aboriginal community who share with me their faith and experiences. I also enjoy seeing other non-Aboriginal people like myself learn about Aboriginal people, history and culture.

What is your dream for ACM? That we have a strong positive impact in both the Aboriginal community and Catholic faith community more broadly. That we are a Church that incorporates faith and culture really well, where people feel welcome, grow in faith and confidence and where our Church is a beacon for reconciliation and good relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. I dream that our ministry continues to meet the intergenerational needs of our community and is led by solid Aboriginal people.

 What do you enjoy doing when you are not working at the Ministry? When I am not working I am researching my Masters into the formation of lay people for leadership, or I am enjoying my local beach, South Beach in Fremantle. You might even catch me on stage doing a bit of improvisation acting at the Brisbane Hotel as part of the Big Hoo-ha. I also love singing!


Reg Carnamah

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am from Yalgoo in the mid-west, the wild flower country. I have held my Catholic faith since the 1970s and being Catholic has allowed me to see things a lot clearer which has been life changing.

What is your role at the Ministry?

I have been working at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for 7 years and my role is Pastoral care worker. My role enables me to work with a range of different indigenous clients in the hospitals, where we talk to those in hospital, say a prayer with them and support them through their time at hospital. I am also on special request help organise Holy Communion for those in the hospital. My role enables me to visit people’s homes to have a chat with them, at the request of people if children need to be baptised or receive their first Holy communion I help to organise that.

What do you like about working at the Ministry?

I like to work at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry as it is never boring, there is a lot of change occurring in the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and we can only go on to do bigger and better things. I like meeting all the different people my role gives me the opportunity to meet.

What is your dream for ACM?

It would be nice to see more young men join the Ministry and become more involved with the Ministry and the community, with hope of seeing more young indigenous men become Accolades and Deacons. Allowing these young men to see how faith and culture impact their lives.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working at the Ministry?

I am a keen gardener and I like to tend to my garden, I also like to paint. I like to catch up with friends and family as I always have a good time when I am around them. I am also a West Coast Eagles supporter so I like to watch them when they are playing.


Donna Ryder

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am one of ten children, born in New Norcia which is also where I went to school, at Salvado college. I Moved down to Perth once I had finished school, however I soon left and went to live in Albany for 2 years, Meekatharra for 1 year then broom for 5 years, finally coming back home to Perth. In that time, I had various jobs working at refugees and I have now been at the ACM for the past 3 years.

What is your role at the Ministry?

I am a Pastoral Assistant which also helps Aboriginal people finds funds for funerals. I attend hospital visits as well as visit community members in their homes. I also help run the sacrament program as well has help organise weekly mass services.

What do you like about working at the Ministry?

I like the fact I work for the church, I know the core boundaries and values of the church and how I relate to those core values. I love meeting new people and I learnt that when working with Aboriginal people a lot of them are lost so I like to help guide them towards their right path.

What is your dream for ACM?

My dream would be where the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry would have their own church and alongside of the church would be the office and within the office would be core services, making the church a one stop shop for Aboriginal people.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working at the Ministry?

I like spending time with my family and friends.


Fr. Joseph

Tell us a bit about yourself

Myself, a priest and God’s servant for about 46 years since 1970. Originally from the Southern Tip of South India, a coastal town, Tuticorin, a fishing area. Opted to come to WA, offering my services to Pilbara Region in 1990, lived in Newman for about 5 years…later returned to Goldfields area of Kalgoorlie and pastoral area of MOORA for about ten years since 2006.

ACM offers many opportunities for such a future development.

What is your role at the Ministry?

I am the Chaplin leading the community in Sunday mass, I am also available to the community for blessings, sacraments and spiritual and pastoral care. Also the Parish Priest at Embleton.

What do you like about working at the Ministry?

As I got to know of more of Aboriginal culture and people, I got drawn to them as great and loving people of nature.

Meeting them and working with them is a great joy because of the spiritual nature of the aboriginal culture, similar to Dravidian Tamil Culture of South India.

What is your dream for the ACM?

As my ministry is to help the spiritual part of the ministry, I like to be of service to the people in their spiritual activities and in consultation with the the elders of the various Aboriginal Communities, to develope a new kind of spiritual ministry which will bring in more people for a better participation in spiritual activities. This is one of my dreams.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working at the Ministry:

Apart from the ministry I like to meet more of people in their life situations and be of any service to them in any way.


Sr. Frances Wilson RNDM

Tell us a bit about yourself:

Born in New Zealand to Polish and English heritage, I have been a sister of Our Lady of the Missions for 59 years. This is an international missionary congregation of religious women who work with the marginalised and poor people of many countries across the world. After teaching in New Zealand primary schools and in principal leadership roles in these primary schools, I came to Australia in January 1991 to live on Gibb River Station in the Kimberley where another sister of Our Lady of the Missions and I established a school for the children of the station. This enabled me to live in an Aboriginal community and learn to be at one with the Aboriginal people. I hold these families very close to my heart. In 2001 I came to Perth to live and work at Mazenod College in Lesmurdie as the Aboriginal support person and chaplain of the College. When this role finished in 2014, I have been for one day a week a mentor for the Aboriginal girls at St Brigid’s College in Lesmurdie.

What is your role at the Ministry?

In 2013 I became a volunteer for the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Perth to assist in the Sacramental program for the families associated with the ministry. I have now been part-time at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for 2 years as pastoral carer for the Aboriginal patients in Charlie Gairdner hospital, and visiting families in their homes as well as organising and working in the Sacramental program.

What do you like about working at the Ministry?

I love having contact with Aboriginal people and sharing their culture and spirituality. I feel I am able to give the necessary support to the families in times of difficulty and distress.

What is your dream for ACM?

My dream is that in time there will be a working group of committed Aboriginal people who are willing to be consistent in being members in the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry team and council. This in turn will enable the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry to be recognised as a vibrant member of the Archdiocesan Agencies in the Church of Perth.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working at the Ministry?

I love being at home and gardening, going for walks and enjoying nature and God’s creation. Between 1989 and 1994 I ran 5 marathons (42.195kms) as well as 3 half marathons (21kms) and various 10,12,14 km runs. I found this very exhilarating in enhancing my love for nature, being active and being part of a group enjoying life. I also enjoy the gatherings with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions community in Perth when we celebrate various occasions. Keeping in touch with my family in New Zealand is also very important to me.

Aboriginal Catholic Council

The role of the Aboriginal Catholic Council is to support and advise the work of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry to achieve the mission and made of the ministry. The Council is made up of members of the Aboriginal Catholic Community. Currently the Council consists of the following people:

Charon Ryder (Chairperson), Donella Brown, Rosemary Walley, Shirley Quaresimin, Karen Ryder, Billy Ah Chee, Cheryl Bradly-Lennox and Christine Taylor.