After helping thousands of couples on their journey to “I do” over 20 years of service, Lyn Keane is moving into retirement.
Lyn Keane will be stepping down on Thursday as Administrator of Marriage Education Support and Enrichment as part of the Diocese of Parramatta’s Life, Marriage and Family Office.
“I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity to work for and in the diocese. I’ve always been fully respected in my role.
“I’ve enjoyed all my years of work with the diocese.
“I’ll miss it in a lot of ways, but it was about time that I retired,” Lyn said with a smile.
On Wednesday, Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for Lyn at Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown. The Mass and a farewell lunch was attended by members of Lyn’s family, friends, former colleagues from CatholicCare and colleagues at the Diocese of Parramatta Diocesan Ministry Centre and Chancery.
View images from Lyn’s Thanksgiving Mass and Lunch here.
Before being involved in marriage preparation, Lyn assisted couples at Natural Family Planning Services from 1985 to 1992, which was then run under the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Lyn then worked as the parish secretary for St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta from 1992 to 1998.
“Early in 1999, a friend invited me to do some relief reception work at CatholicCare in Parramatta, and I did that for a little while.
“After my relief time, a full-time job was advertised. I decided to apply for the position and was successful in my application.
Lyn would stay on as receptionist for five years, before moving into the administrator role with the pre-marriage preparation team.
“We used to have the marriage education at CatholicCare, and I used to help out the lady who was in charge of that. When she left in 2004, my coordinator asked me if I wanted to move over into the pre-marriage role. It was an easy move for me as I already knew the work it entailed.
Lyn worked with the “wonderful people” at CatholicCare for nearly 18 years.
Over the last three years, pre-marriage preparation and marriage enrichment in the diocese has been run out of the Life, Marriage and Family Office in Blacktown.
“My role involves speaking with couples inquiring about marriage preparation in the Catholic Church, administration tasks including booking couples into the two types of preparation we offer, and all tasks relevant to the pre-marriage preparation courses and marriage enrichment events.”
Karin Abrams, Coordinator of Marriage Education Support and Enrichment said that Lyn was the backbone of the Life, Marriage and Family Office.
“Lyn is a wonderful colleague. She is interested and helpful with all aspects of the work, nothing is too much trouble and she has a lovely manner when dealing with couples who are inquiring about pre-marriage education courses.
“Her years of experience, her knowledge of various aspects of the diocese and the systems used are invaluable. Her work makes providing the direct service to couples appear seamless.
“I would like to thank Lyn most sincerely for all her work, dedication and commitment.
“I have loved working with her, it has made my job so much easier due to her knowledge of various aspects of the diocese.
“I will miss her but happily farewell her to the next stage of her life.”
Catherine Bourne, Coordinator/Educator of Natural Fertility Service, part of the Life, Marriage and Family Office, said that Lyn is caring to everyone she works with.
“Lyn is caring and interested in the lives of the people she works with. She will go out of her way to help and offer support when it is needed.
“Lyn has so much experience with the varied requests that our couples may have. She shows care for them whilst completing the administrative tasks involved in registering them for their course. Lyn organises the educator’s and couple’s resources as well as their dietary requirements for the weekend course.
“I will miss Lyn’s enthusiasm, generosity and motherly love.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and working with the great people in the Diocesan Ministry Centre in Blacktown,” Lyn said.
“I have also enjoyed the interactions with staff at the Diocese of Parramatta offices.”
Looking back at her career, Lyn said that the most rewarding part of her role was her interaction with the many young and sometimes older couples preparing for marriage in the diocese.
“I’ve been able to help them with their inquiries and steer them in the right direction for their preparation for marriage.
“I’ve helped prepare the resources for the marriage courses, and I’ve picked up on information that has been beneficial to my own marriage. At times, I have passed that information onto my own daughters in their marriages.
“I believe my role makes a difference to the life of the church and to the couples preparing to look at their relationship as they go forward in their marriage.
“I have spoken to couples who are looking at something different in their relationship just because of something that you’ve said to them.”
Over her 20 years in marriage education, Lyn has drawn inspiration from the dedication of three of her colleagues.
“A woman who is always an inspiration to me is Ann O’Brien, who worked for CatholicCare for 33 years. Ann is knowledgeable and very devoted to everything to do with marriage, marriage education, and counselling people.
“My current coordinator, Karin, is also an inspiration. She’s very focussed and has a heart for helping people preparing for and in their marriages. I have benefited much from her support and dedication.
“My first director at CatholicCare, the late Ray Reid, was an inspirational man in himself. He was gentle and non-judgemental in the way he treated people he counselled, no matter what their walk in life. I admired and respected him.
“I’ve certainly learnt not to judge. There are couples in many different situations, and my job has been to encourage them in whatever way I could for the positive.”
Stepping into retirement, Lyn is looking forward to spending more time with her family, doing some travel, and will continue her service to the church through her parish of St Michael’s, Baulkham Hills.
“I enjoy travelling in and around Australia, and Kevin [my husband] and I are heading to Melbourne in April. After a planned trip to Vietnam in May, if I were to travel overseas again, I would want to go to Rome, Assisi, Fatima and Lourdes.
“I’d love to visit Lourdes, as St Bernadette a very special saint in my family. The apparitions of Our Lady have always been inspiring to me. God reveals Himself to me through them.
“I’m very involved in my parish. We’re starting a pilot Alpha program [which explores the Christian faith through a series of group sessions], which is a big aim for the parish. I am the new president of our parish’s Catholic Women’s League and I’m on the Pastoral Planning Committee at our Lady of Lourdes Church, which is part of St Michael’s Parish.
“I’ll also be able to support my family more, as I love my time spent and any involvement with my family and grandchildren.
“I’ll have plenty of things to keep me occupied,“ she laughs.
View images from Lyn’s Thanksgiving Mass and Lunch here or below.