Celebrating the Work Amazing Work of Catechists and CCRESS.
The Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools (CCRESS) this year (2012) celebrates its 25th Anniversary. This anniversary also coincides with 50 Years of quality training for Catechists who teach Special Religious Education (SRE) in State Schools in NSW.
To mark the occasion,the members of CCRESS from every Catholic Diocese in NSW, came together on Friday June 8 to for Mass celebrated by Most Rev Robert Mc Guckin, Bishop elect of Toowoomba, at St PatricK’s Cathedral, Parramatta. The mass celebrated the wonderful efforts of Catechists and prayerfully sought continued blessings on this wonderful ministry of Catholic Education in State Schools which sees over 5000 volunteers who weekly see around 100,000 Catholic students in NSW State Schools. Bishop McGuckin reflected on his own experiences as a Catechist and the way that this work powerfully engages young people with the person of Jesus.
Mass was followed by a Celebration dinner that bought together special guests and awardees who contributed to the establishment of CCRESS and the ongoing development of training programs that have prepared Catechists to participate in the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel. Nineteen special guests were awarded with medallions for their contribution to the leadership of the ministry in the period 1990- 2000 by Bishop McGuckin in the presence of family members, colleagues and Diocesan Directors of CCD from around NSW-ACT.
Mr John Donnelly, Chair of CCRESS expressed his deep gratitude to the thousands of Catechists who have in years gone by, and who today, continue to make such a significant contribution to the life of the Church. He noted too, the ongoing commitment of both the State Government and Opposition to strongly support the work of these volunteers who add so much to the richness and diversity of Public Education by nurturing kids in the faith of their families.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Sr Martina Sarkis rsj noted how all were honoured to receive these awards on behalf of all Catechists. Further to this she emphasised how she, as a Sister of St. Joseph, was certain that the work of Catechists would continue to be dear to the heart of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
It is fitting in this year that marks 25 Years of CCRESS and 50 Years of quality training for Catechists, that CCRESS will launch online training programs for the ongoing development of Catechists in their work.
Award Recipients: Armidale: Sr Lyn Raftery rsj , Sr Carmel Maher rsj (Deceased), Bathurst: Sr Clare Hopper rsj, Sr Therese Patterson rsj, Sr Maureen Schiemer rsj, Broken Bay: Sr Joan Goodwin rsj, Sr Mary Hugh sgs, Canberra/Goulburn: Sabina Van Rooy, Lismore: Sr Christine Austin rsm, Maitland/Newcastle: Mary Smith, Sr Rita Petherbridge rsm (Deceased), Parramatta: Sr Libbey Byrne rsc, Sr Colleen Keeble rsj, Diane O’Shea, Sydney: Sr Joan Bell csb, Sr Marie Brennan rsc, Sr Carmel Clancy pbvm, Wollongong: Sr Martina Sarkis.
Mr Jude Hennessy
Wollongong Diocesan Director CCD
CCRESS Liaison Officer