DOZENS of Catholics received Australia Day awards last week for outstanding contributions to their fields of excellence.
The awards honour Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service.
Among the many recognised for their dedication to community were Catholic teachers, priests, women religious, health care workers and social service workers.
Bishop Emeritus Eugene Hurley, who led the dioceses of Port Pirie and Darwin, was among those recognised.
Bishop Hurley said he had received an enormous number of congratulatory calls and was “humbled by the experience”.
“While it’s an enormous honour, it is really an honour to all the people I have worked with over the last 54 years; it really belongs to all those people,” he said.
“It’s been an enormous privilege to have walked with people from different backgrounds and so many cultures.
“I’ve learnt so much about myself.
“It seems to me that over time we can maybe get to know the face and maybe know the name, but I think until we know the story we never know the other person.
“And that’s been a great privilege of mine – to have shared so many stories of people’s lives, from asylum seekers to refugees to people in prison and to our Indigenous brothers and sisters, as well as all the families that I have been privileged to have been a part of.”
Bishop Hurley was ordained a priest in 1964 and was a bishop for 20 years until his retirement last year.
He spent the past 11 years as Bishop of Darwin and has “retired” to Darwin where he is assisting his successor Bishop Charles Gauci as he settles into his role.
“It’s terrific with the new bishop,” he said.
“We are working together and it is a really lovely way to transition for him and me.”
Brisbane Broncos rugby league club chair Karl Morris (pictured) was also named an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the financial and stockbroking sectors, and to the community through a range of organisations including the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund.
Catholics who made the list of the Order of Australia
Father Paul William Pidcock, NSW: Marist Father Paul Pidcock was a vital part of the life of St John’s College Woodlawn in Lismore, NSW, for 55 years until his retirement last year, fulfilling several roles over that time as its chaplain, member of the college executive council, bursar, teacher and social outreach organiser.
Richard Michael Haddock, NSW: For distinguished service to the community, to charitable groups, to the Catholic Church in Australia,
and to the nance sector.
Bishop Emeritus Eugene Hurley, Northern Territory: Bishop Hurley was the founder of the Catholic pastoral care team at the Woomera Detention Centre, member of the Ministerial Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and is a patron of the Melaleuca Refugee Centre.
Professor Matthew Peters, NSW: Prof Peters is the head of the department of thoracic medicine at Concord Repatriation General Hospital is now a member of the Order of Australia for significant service to thoracic medicine, to medical education and to professional organisations.
Rex Harding, NSW: Rex Harding, president of the St Vincent de Paul
Society conference at St Rose Parish in Collaroy Heights has devoted much of his life to volunteer community service and received his medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community of Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Good Samaritan Sister Rita Fitt, NSW: Honoured for service to
secondary education. “I see this as an award for the college which allows and encourages me in this role which bene ts all of us,” she said.
Dr Youseff Taouk, NSW: For service to the Lebanese community. The past president and current member of the Bsharri Association is also a member of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society, member of the Eparchial Assembly Preparatory Committee, Maronite Eparchy of Australia and of the stewardship committee at St Raymond’s Maronite parish in Auburn.
Mary Lee, NSW: For service to the Irish community in Australia. Mrs Lee established a successful travel agency, Eblana Travel, in the CBD, running it for more than 40 years before a problem with her eyesight forced her to retire from the work she loved. She was named the Irish Australian of the Year in 1987 and received The Landsdowne Club Individual Achievement Award in 2001 and Chairman’s Award in 2010.
Marist Father Kevin Bates, NSW: For service to the Catholic Church. Fr Bates, parish priest at Hunters Hill, is a recognisable name in the Catholic community as the writer of hymns sung in Australian parishes and schools over many years. He said he was “astonished and honoured” to hear he was to receive a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the Catholic Church.
Martha Jabour, NSW: For service to the community through support for victims of crime. Martha Jabour says she looks to St Mary of the Cross MacKillop as a constant aide in her work as head of the Homicide Victims’ Support Group Australia.
Karl Morris, Qld: For distinguished service to the financial and stockbroking sectors, and to the community through a range of organisations including the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund.