Special Religious Educators (SREs/catechists) from the Diocese of Parramatta gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills, for the annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Mass on Friday 8 September 2017.
Cecilia Zammit, Director of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Parramatta (CCD), welcomed clergy and more than the 500 people assembled for the celebration on this feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv in his homily, thanked the catechists for their tireless work.
“I thank you most sincerely for the service you render to the young people in our schools and parishes. May Mary who is the example par excellence of faith, hope and love intercede for us and make us instruments of grace,” Bishop Vincent said.
The catechists are men and women who each week volunteer their time in 190 local state primary and high schools to share the Catholic faith with students in public schools. They are trained in the curriculum and in class management and all have working with Children Check clearance.
Students from Catholic High schools who assist as catechists in parishes walked down the aisle at Our Lady of Lourdes Church holding school banners as part of the entrance procession and later received their participation certificates at the awards ceremony which followed Mass.
This year, Madeline Leslie received an Award for 45 years of service as an SRE in Baulkham Hills schools and another six SREs received awards for 40 year’s service: Patricia McAuley, Gus Kaster, Diane Campbell, Margaret Currie Elaine Jones and Georgina Serg.
Awards were also given for 35, 30, 25, 20 and 15 year’s service in SRE. Retired parish coordinators were also recognised along with Veronica Sultana who recently retired from her role as Coordinator of the Blue Mountains region.
The CCD Office has redesigned its Catechist volunteer support material and a new 2 minute video is available to parishes wanting to hold a weekend appeal. The brochures entitled Faith breathing life into future Generations are printed and ready for parishes. For this great ministry to continue more volunteers are required and whilst some lessons might be a challenge, catechists often remark on the benefits they receive from teaching the students.
If you are interested in becoming an SRE/catechist please contact Maree Collis at the CCD Office, on (02) 9890 4731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.