ELEVEN Queenslanders are among Catholics who have been given national recognition for their contributions to Australia in this year’s Australia Day honours list.
Retired Brisbane priest Fr Wally Dethlefs is one of at least three Queensland Catholics appointed as Members of the Order of Australia.
Fr Dethlefs was honoured for his significant service to youth and to the community of Brisbane. For more than 40 years, Fr Dethlefs has fought for justice for “countless numbers” of youth and young adults, to whom he dedicated his award.
“I feel I can accept this willingly and graciously on behalf of the disadvantaged young people I’ve worked with, and others that haven’t made it to adulthood because of death,” he said.
Fr Dethlefs served as commissioner for the National Youth Mission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness and co-founded the Youth Justice Coalition, the Wilson Protest Group and the Justice for Juveniles Group.
He hoped the award would open more possibilities for justice among disadvantaged youth in Brisbane, and in Australia.
Good Samaritan Sister Pauline Coll was also appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her advocacy, education and awareness-raising about the issue of human trafficking, especially of women and children.
In 2004 Sr Coll and a small number of women religious began working towards the foundation of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans.
Although the honour is in her name, Sr Coll said it recognised all those “working quietly away” to protect the dignity of people affected by human trafficking.
“This is the work of ACRATH – to do ‘the hard stuff’ following the example of Jesus,” she said.
All Hallows’ School principal Dr Lee-Anne Perry was honoured for her service to secondary education, to curriculum development, and to professional educational associations.
Several Queensland Catholics were awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia.
Joseph Bakhash, of Cloncurry, was awarded for his service to the Cloncurry community, including volunteer work at St Joseph’s Catholic School, and coaching the local rugby team for 15 years.
Shirley Bishop has been honoured for her service to the community of Gympie.
She has been a dedicated member of St Patrick’s Parish, serving as a parish council member and volunteering for a Caring Mass for the past 10 years.
Guido Canale Bem, of Hendra, was awarded for his service to the Italian community, where he has been a member for more than 27 years.
Patrick Galligan, of Goodna, received the medal for his involvement in community groups in the greater-Ipswich area.
Fred Lizzio, of Babinda, was awarded for his service to Babinda and Innisfail as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Carolyn Nasser, of Salisbury, was awarded for her service to people with a disability in Queensland.
Robert O’Neill, of Keperra, has been honoured for his service to social welfare, to the disadvantaged, and to the community.
Marie Radford, of Annandale, was awarded for her service to Catholic education, particularly in the Townsville diocese, and for her volunteer work in the community.