At 11am, the powerful voices of the choir, made up of students from ASPIRE and St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, filled the Cathedral.
Director of Schools, Dr Michael Slattery, addressed the congregation, welcoming students from all 56 diocesan schools. This was the first official welcome to students by the new Director who is also celebrating his first Catholic Schools Week. Michael spoke of the importance of community and the powerful message in this year’s theme, ‘Catholic schools: Great learning, Great communities’, encouraging the forging and strengthening of relationships between Catholic schools and their local communities.
Bishop Bill Wright presided over the morning liturgy. The participation of students during Mass saw a strong sense of community and commitment with students involved in proclaiming the Word and the preparation of the gifts for the Eucharist.
A tradition of the annual Mass is the announcement of recipients of the Bishop’s Award – Catholic Schools Student’s Award which seeks to recognise the efforts of a select group of students from Years 7 to 11, currently enrolled in our Catholic secondary schools. In this category, there are up to six awards each year with two being awarded for a male and female for stages 4 and 5 and Year 11. Recipients received $1000 to contribute to their education or faith formation.
Bishop Bill, along with CSO Parent Liaison Officer, Cath Garrett-Jones; President of Federation of P & F Associations Giavanna Angeli and Chair of the Diocesan Council for Ministry with Young People, James Elliott, presented the 2017 Catholic Schools Student’s Bishop’s Awards to the following recipients:
Serafina Angeli – St Pius X High School, Adamstown
Serafina has a strong commitment to the life of her parish and school. She is an active member of the All Saints Blackbutt South Parish and involves herself in welcoming activities, singing, proclaiming the Word at Mass and supporting parishioners. Serafina has also assisted in the organisation of fundraisers and events at St Pius X High School at the Refugee Awareness Day and participates annually in the Ecumenical Way of the Cross.
Kolivette Va – San Clemente, Mayfield
Kolivette receives this Bishop’s Award for his commitment to his parish and school communities. He is an exceptional young man and a vital part of worship at the Cathedral and within his parish of St Patrick’s Wallsend, Shortland. Kolivette is an altar server and a substitute organist/pianist for Sunday Mass. He has assisted in promoting a Youth Mass, plays the organ at funerals, accompanies the Tongan and Samoan choir, assists at the Chrism Mass and plays for special liturgies. Kolivette also volunteers through school holidays at the Parish Office and is a member of his parish's Divine Mercy prayer group.
Brianna Fogarty – St Catherine's Catholic College, Singleton
Brianna is commended for her strong commitment to the school and parish community of St Catherine’s Singleton where she is an altar server each Sunday, Wednesday, holy days and other special occasions.
Brianna supports the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Support group and attends meetings, assists with fundraising, charity events and their annual Christmas gift wrapping. She also visits the elderly at a nursing home in Singleton and distributes Christmas cards to ensure they feel they are not forgotten. Brianna has also assisted in the establishment of a Mini Vinnies at St Catherine’s in Singleton and is the 2017 Social Justice prefect.
Jack Piscopo – St Clare’s, Taree
Jack receives his Bishop’s Award for his committed involvement in his parish and school communities.
As a member of the Forster Tuncurry Parish, he has displayed a commitment to his parish through his involvement in music ministry and altar serving. He participates in school liturgies and reflection days. Jack has been recognised by his school community as a leader and was a recipient of the 2015 St Clare’s Citizenship Award. He was elected to the Student Representative Council in 2016 as one of 4 student representatives. Jack has been a volunteer at the CatholicCare Soup Kitchen in Taree and participated in ANZAC day marches and the Blessing of the Fleet.
Grace Dever – St Francis Xavier's College, Hamilton
Grace is commended for her strong commitment to her school and parish community. She is an active member of All Saints Blackbutt South parish. Her ministries at Mass include proclaiming the Word, assisting in children’s liturgy, taking part in the procession of gifts, general preparations for Mass and hospitality. Grace participated in the St Francis Xavier’s College immersion program in Cambodia in July where support was offered to the Marist Community and has volunteered and supported the CommunityCare van in Islington Park. Grace is an active student representative for St Francis Xavier’s College and has assisted in fund raising efforts and the provision of assistance to students with additional needs.
Anthony McMullen – St Clare’s, Taree
Anthony is commended for his deep commitment to his school, St Clare’s Taree and parish community of Our Lady of the Rosary. Anthony plays an active role in the life of the parish through his management of the audio-visual equipment for the Saturday Vigil Mass and for Sacraments of Initiation. He involves himself in the Carols by Candlelight activities held in the parish grounds as well as setting up stalls to raise funds for charity. Anthony has been involved in the Stations of the Cross and acted in the role of Jesus – carrying the cross from station to station. At St Clare’s Taree, Anthony is a member of the St Vincent de Paul group and assists in preparing hampers for Christmas as well as participating in fundraising events for Caritas Australia.