Lisa Bright, Project Officer for the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office has been acknowledged for her service to her Greystanes community.
Lisa, a life-long parishioner of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, was awarded a Local NSW Woman of the Year Award for her contribution to the local community through her parish and the Maltese community.
“It honestly was a big surprise and a huge honour to have been considered to receive such an award,” Lisa told Catholic Outlook. “To know that people appreciate the community events that myself and fellow team members coordinate, particularly at the level of local government, is really wonderful.”
The award formed part of the ninth NSW Women of the Year Awards, which were celebrated around International Women’s Day in March. The awards recognise and celebrate the contribution made by women across NSW to industry, communities and society.
Due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa was only recently able to receive her award from her local NSW MP Julia Finn, the member for Granville.
In her parish, Lisa has been involved in various ministries and committees and has coordinated several parish events.
She is also the current President of the OLQP Festa committee, which organises the annual Festa tal-Vitorja that celebrates and honours Mary, Queen of Peace and the rich Maltese culture of the local community.
“I was asked to join the committee three years ago and soon after, I was elected President. That was the first time that a woman had been invited to be on the committee as a member and therefore, the first time a woman had been nominated and elected to hold an executive position.
“Since then, we have had two more women join the committee.”
Lisa explained that she is lucky to have been accompanied by various religious and lay women in her life that have supported and guided her in her faith.
“I have been extremely lucky to have worked and experienced life alongside many amazing women in my life.
“In my late teenage years, I was extremely blessed to have worked with local sisters who lived in our community. Their support and guidance directed me to other amazing women who really helped me through some difficult years.
“When I worked and volunteered at the St Vincent de Paul Society, there were many strong women whom I worked alongside and in leadership positions, who demonstrated how to be courageous even when things got tough. Their strength in adversity still stays with me as I witness some of the challenges that women face in leadership in so many areas in our communities.
“Most recently, I have been very lucky to be accompanied by some amazing religious and lay women who show me how to find peace and calm in the stormy waters of life and give me the strength to go out and do whatever it is I need to do. I meet regularly with these women where we talk about issues of life and faith, support each other in our joys and challenges, in our questioning and doubts and in growing with each other to live our lives in the fullness of God.”
In referencing documents from the Second Vatican Council and research undertaken by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Lisa believes that women are called to play a larger role in the decision-making process in the Church.
“We are the People of God in our world – no matter whether we are male or female. This means that we are all important in sharing God’s message of love with each other.
“We all have a place in the Church – both male and female. To include women in decision-making processes within all levels of our Church, I believe, moves us a long way to responding to the signs of the times.”
Upon receiving her award, Lisa wished to thank her family and her parish community for the honour.
“No one can do life alone, and I am constantly supported by so many people to be able to do what I do in my parish community.
“My family is very supportive of the work that I do, and I thank them whole heartedly.
“I also have an amazing network of extended family and friends, to whom I am so grateful for their support.
“I think this award will make me work harder! I want to make sure I continue to deserve what the award stands for and that I am able to contribute as much as I can to the local community.”