Catechists join Bishop Vincent Long for CCD Mass

Special Religious Educators can be the faces of Christ and ambassadors of his mercy.
More than 600 people came together for this year’s CCD Mass and presentation of service awards. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta/Alfred Boudib.

Catholic Outlook, November 2016

Special Religious Educators (SREs/catechists) travelled from all parts of the Diocese of Parramatta to celebrate Eucharist at Padre Pio Parish, Glenmore Park, where Fr Chris Antwi-Boasiako hosted the 2016 diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Mass on 21 October 2016.

Cecilia Zammit, Director of CCD Parramatta, welcomed the clergy and more than 600 people assembled for this celebration. This was Bishop Vincent Long’s first opportunity to meet and greet the catechists – women and men who each week go into 200 local state schools to share their faith and the love of God.

To view a gallery of photos click here.

In his homily, Bishop Vincent announced that the Church is moving beyond a clerical structure to the “arrival of the age of the laity” with core responsibility in the building of the community.

Bishop Vincent Long gives the homily for the CCD Mass. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta/Alfred Boudib.

Bishop Vincent Long gives the homily for the CCD Mass. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta/Alfred Boudib.

Bishop Vincent said, “The signs of the times talked about in the Gospel today is a source of new hope and that armed with the Gospel we can be the faces of Christ and ambassadors of his mercy. The hallmarks of our discipleship are faith, service and engagement.”

Student representatives from 15 Catholic colleges joined the entrance procession behind their school banners and the Mercy Cross and Relics were carried in by students of Caroline Chisholm College, Glenmore Park, and by Veronica and Frank Sultana.

It was, in fact, Veronica who more than 14 years ago initiated the student SRE program with students from Caroline Chisholm College. This ministry has now spread to 20 Catholic colleges in our Diocese.

A very important part of this celebration was the presentation of Diocesan CCD Awards immediately after Mass. Bishop Vincent presented awards to catechists who had served the Church as SREs for 40 years (Sabine Harriss), 35 years (Cecilia Fanning and Margaret Ryan) and 30 years (Julie Daly, Lyn Burton, Clare Brcar, Mila Svehla and Laura Eid).

Papal blessings (20 years’ service) were presented to June Brennen, Patricia Duncan, Lorraine Gordon, Maureen Jones, Bernadette Leccese, Maria Long, Peter Stapleton and Maureen Watts, and SREs who had served for 25 years and 15 years were also recognised.

Twelve SREs were conferred with Graduation Certificates for completing Level 3 Primary Training Course and nine others who had retired from roles as parish coordinators were shown appreciation for their service.

Celebrations continued afterwards as catechists shared stories over lunch in the Bethany Primary School hall.

As the number of schools in Western Sydney continues to grow each year, parishes are always keen to hear from anyone interested in joining this band of catechists. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact Maree Collis at the CCD Office, tel (02) 9890 4731 or send an email to

Orientation and training is provided and volunteers usually begin this ministry as a helper SRE.

To read the November 2016 issue of Catholic Outlook online, click here.

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