Catechist Mass 2016

The ‘flavour’ of 150 years is evident as the community celebrates in diverse ways the anniversary of the arrival of the first resident bishop of Maitland, James Murray, who claimed St John’s Church as his cathedral.

Director of the Office of Life and Faith, John Donnelly, speaking at the Annual Catechist Mass on 5 February, said, “Tonight we honour those upon whose shoulders we stand.”

Presider Bishop Bill was joined by several diocesan priests and many catechists and members of the community at the Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.  In his homily, Bishop Bill explained that while the terms ‘catechist’, SRE (Special Religious Education) teacher and scripture teacher have been used almost interchangeably, there was a time when the catechist was the one who called the people together in between the visits of the priest to remote locations. Perhaps history is beginning to repeat itself?

Bishop Bill also described the catechist as a “permanent and vital element of the mission of the Church….There are always efforts to communicate the deeper realities of the gospel. We pray for the catechists who bring to our parishes the richer, deeper, truer knowledge of Jesus.” And of course, “Instructing others is one of the works of mercy.”

Invoking the scripture of the day, Bishop Bill drew a parallel with the current deplorable situation regarding those refugees who stand to be returned to Nauru under the latest High Court ruling. “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord….Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer….For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Is 56: 6-7). (You may like to read “Offers of sanctuary brighten Australia’s refugee dark age” by Justin Glyn SJ).

A feature of the occasion was the presentation of Recognition of Service Awards and Accreditation Awards. Maureen Mahoney of Blackbutt North was recognised for 35 years of SRE Ministry. The full list of awardees appears below.

Recognition of Service Awards: 

5 years:     

Name  Ministry     Parish
Susan Huurdeman    SRE   Forster Tuncurry
Gloria North       SRE  Raymond Terrace
Sr Maria Yen Nguyen Sugarloaf
Sr Lucie Trang Le SRE    Sugarloaf
Paula Carter    SoI   Myall Coast

10 years:

Name                         Ministry      Parish
Vivian Allen   SRE   Forster Tuncurry
Margaret Pile        SoI    Myall Coast
Patricia Dunn    SoI  Scone
Sr Lucie Trang Le SoI     Wallsend-Shortland
Kylie Armstrong    SoI   Myall Coast

15 years:

Name                       Ministry    Parish
Marsha Donkin SRE Raymond Terrace
Monika Sneddon SRE Sugarloaf

Papal Blessing for 20 years service:

Name                          Ministry      Parish
Margaret Johnson   SRE  Chisholm Region
Rose Smith     SoI   Myall Coast
Joan Oliver  SRE Wallsend-Shortland
Gail Hill    SoI Blackbutt North
Maureen Rak  SoI Blackbutt North
Colleen McCormack  SRE Blackbutt North

25 years:

Name                   Ministry   Parish
Carl Nolan      SRE    Blackbutt North
Sharyn Roche    SRE    Sugarloaf

30 Years:

Name                       Ministry    Parish
Christine McNab   SRE Cessnock
Rose Smith    SoI   Myall Coast
Helen Gibson SRE  Raymond Terrace
Bernadette Royan SRE Sugarloaf

35 Years:

Name                Ministry  Parish
Maureen Mahoney SRE  Blackbutt North


RENEW SRE Training:

Name                     Ministry   Parish
Norman Chapman SRE Forster Tuncurry
Patricia Cornish   SRE Forster Tuncurry
Frances Fischer  SRE Wingham
Pauline Williams   SRE Wingham

BASIC SRE Training:

Name              Ministry Parish
Julie Owens   SRE Kurri Kurri

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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is a member of the Raymond Terrace Parish and a freelance writer with a particular interest in church matters.