Each year hundreds of Special Religious Education teachers (SREs/catechists) gather for the Annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Mass and Awards Ceremony. This year Good Shepherd Parish Plumpton hosted the Mass on Friday September 7.
It was a great celebration of this ministry when over 400 SREs from across the Diocese joined the 300 student SREs from Catholic schools to give thanks for the many blessings received, and to pray for our students in public schools and their families. The photos below are evidence of the joy on that day.
The sanctuary at Good Shepherd decorated with beautiful flowers truly came alive as Bishop of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv concelebrated Mass with six priests of the diocese. We are grateful to them as well as diocesan MC Chris Ohlsen, Deacon Tan and three seminarians who served at the altar. Paul, husband of Annette Axiak who taught SRE until her illness late last year, lit the memorial candle at the start of Mass as we paused to remember past SREs who have died.
Bishop Vincent in his homily, offered words of encouragement and hope when he said, “This Eucharist is a thanksgiving to God for your active, faithful and generous discipleship. As Confraternity of Christian Doctrine volunteers, you bring the new wine of God’s love and mercy to the hearts of the young people.”
Bishop Vincent went on to say that, “At this time when the Church’s reputation, moral credibility and trust capital are effectively shattered in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis…we join forces with Pope Francis in repairing and restoring the Body of Christ. Now is the time for us to rebuild the Church as a beacon of hope for the world by living the radical vision of love, justice, compassion and solidarity.”
After the conclusion of Mass, the congregation remained seated while Bishop Vincent presented service awards and certificates.
Antoinette Mifsud, Parish Coordinator of Kingswood, received her 40 years of service award, Colin Morris, Connie Bennett and Anne Ledger received awards for 35 years, and Marie Trapp, Jane Agius and Rita Mangion for 30 years service as SREs. It is always exciting too for the volunteers who received their papal blessings for 20 years service: Veronique McMurray, Angela Tripolone, Gloria Yap, Jane Cauchi, Christabell Entwistle, Martin Maguire, Pamela Singh, Crystal Rodricks, Wendy Walsh, Jane Sultana and Thelma Mathias.
This year we recognised three members of the CCD team for their dedication and commitment to SRE: Connie Cassar as Regional Coordinator of Blacktown Region for 21 years, Wendy Hord for 20 years coordinator of Hills Region and Maree Collis, manager of the CCD Office for the past 20 years. Congratulations to all the award recipients!
We look forward to having more parishioners answer the call to this ministry.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a catechist visit parracatholic.org/ccd-home or call 02 8838 3486.
By Cecilia Zammit, Director – Confraternity of Christian Doctrine