Catechists celebrate annual thanksgiving Mass with joy and gratitude

By Cecilia Zammit, 7 December 2021
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, poses for a photograph with catechists who were recognised with a Papal Blessing for their 20 years of service during the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Annual Mass at St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

 

On Friday 26 November, the Diocese of Parramatta’s Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) held their annual Mass at St Andrew the Apostle Church, Marayong to celebrate the contributions of the Catechists of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains in spreading the message of God’s love to public school students.

While the weather on the day was wet and overcast, more than 200 catechists and their families travelled to Marayong from Blackheath in the west, Luddenham in the south west, Kenthurst in the north and Windsor and Richmond in the north west, and the mood was one of joy and gratitude.

In her welcome address, CCD Director Cecilia Zammit noted how good it was to finally come together after the cancellation of the 2020 annual Mass and the postponement of this year’s Mass. Nine Catechists who had passed away in the years since the educators last met were remembered and honoured.

The memorial candle is lit for catechists who had passed away in the previous year during the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Annual Mass at St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, and concelebrated by newly-appointed parish priest of St Andrew’s, Fr Kevin Medilo, and five other priests of the Diocese.

The first reading from John’s first letter reminded us of how great God’s love is that we should be called children of God; a message which really is the driving force of the good men and women who join this ministry. St Luke’s Gospel called us to consider the signs of the times, with a view to keeping our eyes fixed not on the transitory things of this world but on Jesus’ words “which will never pass away”.

In his homily, Bishop Vincent commended SRE teachers who witness to God’s immense love and Jesus’ enduring words through their teaching of the faith, but even more so through their example of Christian discipleship. This example and the way we live our lives and conduct our relationships with the students, teachers and whole school community has a long lasting impact on the children. Bishop Vincent noted that school communities value the presence of SREs which is a testament to the strength of the ministry.

Bishop Vincent made reference to Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Letter Antiquum Ministerium and how it “elevated” the Catechist ministry, since there was now official recognition for the important work of Catechists throughout the world in spreading the faith to young people.

Bishop Vincent encouraged the Catechist community to continue in their work with young people, noting that the building of right relationships with others and the earth is key to witnessing to the love of Christ.

At the conclusion of Mass, awards were presented to Catechists who had achieved significant service milestones in 2020 and in 2021.

Sabine Harriss from Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes (left), and Georgina Serg from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills, were recognised for their 45 years of service during the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Annual Mass at St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

Special mention must go to two Catechists celebrating 45 years’ service – Sabine Harriss from Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, and Georgina Serg from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills; two celebrating 40 years’ service – Dianne Nelson from St Joseph’s Parish, Kingswood, and Patricia Lineham from St Monica’s Parish North Parramatta, and 16 catechists celebrating 35 years’ service in SRE. We thank God for the dedication of so many our long-serving Special Religious Education Ministers.

We would like to congratulate Josephine and John Caruana from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville, who after the celebration received a blessing from Bishop Vincent on their 50th wedding anniversary.

Catechist Josephine Caruana from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville, and her husband John receive a blessing from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta for on their 50th wedding anniversary. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, Cecilia thanked Fr Kevin Medilo and the parish team at St Andrew’s for their hospitality, and the choir led by Melissa MacDonald and Chris Barach on guitars. She acknowledged that some SREs may not be returning to the classroom in 2022, so there was room for new people to join this wonderful ministry.

Anyone interested in becoming a catechist/Special Religious Education (SRE) teacher in the state schools across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains can contact their parish office, or Maree Collis on (02) 8838 3486.

Cecilia Zammit is the Director of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) in the Diocese of Parramatta.

Rewatch the 2021 CCD Annual Mass here.

View images from the Annual Mass here.

Read the full list of award recipients below

NameParish
Sabine Harriss (2021)Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes
Georgina Serg (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills

NameParish
Dianne Nelson (2020)St Joseph’s Parish, Kingswood
Patricia Linehan (2020)St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta

NameParish
Rosina Campbell (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Maria O’Brien (2020)Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown
Joan Johnson (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Gladys Hitchen (2020)Our Lady of the Nativity Parish, Lawson
Jane Agius (2020) Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields
Diane O’Shea (2020) Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere
Laura Eid (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Westmead
Esther Buttigieg (2020) Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba
Barbara Ryan (2021)Our Lady of the Way Parish, Emu Plains
Julie Daly (2021)St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park
Elizabeth Mizzi (2021) St Margaret Mary’s Parish, Merrylands
Maria Saleh (2021) St Margaret Mary’s Parish, Merrylands
Clare Brcar (2021)St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith
Mila Svehla (2021) St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith
Rita Mangion (2021)Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields

NameParish
Maria Barros (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Tina Lazzoppina (2020)St Patrick’s Parish, Guildford
Angela Foster (2020)Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere
Connie Cassar (2020)St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Sam Cassar (2020)St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Iny Walker (2020)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
Deanna Griffiths (2021)St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park
Margaret Neill (2021) St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith
Carmen Camilleri (2021)St Matthew’s Parish, Windsor

NameParish
Carmel De Bono (2020)Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes
Annette Aquilina (2020)Parish of Richmond
Janet Borg (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba
Carmel Fenton (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba
Mary Vella (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba
Lorraine Gordon (2021)Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt
Rose Rocha (2021)Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes
Margaret Portelli (2021)St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Maryse Angseesing (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills
Carol Vella (2021)Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair
Bernadette Leccese (2021)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
Maureen Watts (2021)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
Katherine Steele (2021)St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie
Mary Wehbe (2020)Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes and St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Nina Chavez (2020)St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill
Maria Battaglia (2021)St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Peter Stapleton (2021)St Finbar’s Parish, Glenbrook

NameParish
Veronica Duffy (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Cate Joseph (2020)Christ the King Parish, North Rocks
Wilhelmina de Raadt (2020)St Thomas Aquinas Parish, Springwood
Kim Ellis (2020)St Thomas Aquinas Parish, Springwood
Noleen Cliff (2021)Sacred Heart Parish, Blackheath
Anka Poljak (2021)Holy Cross Parish, Granville
Cornelius Aarts (2021)St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Antonia Formosa (2021)St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Janet Khodeir (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Angela Bogdanovic (2020)St Joseph’s Parish, Kingswood
Pamela Bain (2020)St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Mili Lee (2020)St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Annie Cutajar (2020)St Matthew’s Parish, Windsor
Dolores Vella (2020)St Matthew’s Parish, Windsor
Juliet Lenehan (2021)St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park
Mary Barakat (2021)St Margaret Mary’s Parish, Merrylands
Rosa Luppino (2021)The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
Socorro Morgan (2021)The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
Dianne Kelleher (2021)Parish of Richmond
Patricia Kucharik (2021)Parish of Richmond
Helena Greedy (2021)St John the Evangelist Parish, Riverstone
Venus Sta. Ana (2021)St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill
Josephine Apap (2021)Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill
Cherryl Kennedy (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills
Robert McNally (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills
Janet Weinert (2021)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys

NameParish
Rosemarie Macey (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Magda Marconato (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Claire Maguire (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Blackheath
Sesilia Garland (2020)Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown
Doris Zammit (2020)Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown
Therese Chahine (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Pamela Masson (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Dundas Valley
Helen Zammit (2020)St John XXIII Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens
Susan Brown (2020)Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes
Aida Nasr (2020)St Patrick’s Parish, Guildford
Bridget Wakim (2020)St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park
Suzanne Taylor (2020)St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta
Jacinta Sullivan (2020)St John the Evangelist Parish, Riverstone
Sue Farrar (2020)Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere
Patricia Duffy (2020)St Thomas Aquinas Parish, Springwood
Annette Morris (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba
Debbie Alderton (2020)Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish, Wentworthville
Sam Romanous (2020)Sacred Heart Parish, Westmead
Sandra Baker (2021)Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown
Don Robens (2021)Our Lady of the Way Parish, Emu Plains
Elizabeth Culliver (2021)St Finbar’s Parish, Glenbrook
Rosario Franco (2021)St John XXIII Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens
Renuka Soosaipillai (2021)St John XXIII Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens
Robert McNally (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills
Janet Weinert (2021)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
Josephine Caruana (2021) Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville
Elen Habibi (2021)Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville
Mary De Joodt (2021)The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
Fayelene Kennedy (2021)Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills

CollegeSuburb
Bede Polding CollegeSouth Windsor
Caroline Chisholm CollegeGlenmore Park
Marian Catholic CollegeKenthurst
Montgrove CollegeOrchard Hills
Patrician Brothers’ CollegeBlacktown
Penola Catholic CollegeEmu Plains
St Andrew’s CollegeMarayong
St Columba’s Catholic CollegeSpringwood
St John Paul II Catholic CollegeSchofields
St Mark’s Catholic CollegeStanhope Gardens
St Paul’s Catholic CollegeGreystanes
Wollemi CollegeWerrington

NameParish
Joanne Hamilton (2020)St Padre Pio Parish, Glenmore Park
Mary Marsh (2020)St Padre Pio Parish, Glenmore Park
Chris Worthington (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Madeline Leslie (2020)Parish of Baulkham Hills
Albert & Wendy Yuen (2021)St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta
Dianne Kelleher (2021)Parish of Richmond
Venus Sta. Ana (2021)St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill
Margaret Currie (2021)Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair

NameParish
Maria Fry (2021)St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish, Kenthurst
Stephen Fry (2021)St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish, Kenthurst
Pamela Bain (2021)St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Leoncia Evio (2021)Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields

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