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. Sebastion

Father Sebastian Fernando, is ACM’s new Chaplain and comes to our ministry after a vast life of service in the Church here In Australia, India and the United States of America. He has followed the mantra that his ministry is where the Church needs him, thus he has lived in many different places. Prior to joining us he was Parish Priest at Corrigin/Kulin Parish in the Wheatbelt. He has worked in Hospital Ministry in the Unites States with mainly South American people where he learnt to Speak Spanish, so we think he will be well suited to the work that the Ministry does visiting Aboriginal people in hospitals and hostels.

He moved to Australia in 1984 to work with Aboriginal people in the Kimberly and from this date till 1995, he served in the following communities Wirrumanu, Mulan, Billilina, Yagga Yagga, Beagle Bay, Lombadina, Dja-rindjin, One Arm Point and Kalumburu in the North West corner of Western Australia. Here he learnt a lot about Aboriginal people, culture and spirituality and he is looking forward to learning more about the Noongar people and the many different Aboriginal people who live in the Archdiocese

Sr Helen

Sr. Helen

Sr Helen grew up in Perth and until she was ten years old and went to St Joseph’s School, Victoria Square – opposite St Mary’s Cathedral. Her family then moved to Albany and Bun-bury, later returning to Perth. As a member of a Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary – the initials in Latin being ISSM her ministry has been in three areas teaching primary school students in W.A, teaching primary and secondary school as well as TAFE students in NSW and then as a Pastoral Associate in NSW Hospital Ministry before joining the ACM team in October 2017.

One of the things I enjoy about working at the Ministry is the “no frills” approach and manner of Aboriginal people; their honesty and their seemingly innate sense of humour. My dream for ACM is to see more and more Aboriginal people enjoying and enthusiastic in their following of Jesus, the way, the truth and the light – wanting to share this Christian and Catholic way of life with others.

The dream includes, that each person finds support in the Catholic faith community and that each person is encouraged to discover a spot within this faith community, where their effort helps build the future. When I am not working at the Ministry I enjoy learning about history, doing photography, art and writing

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.