Bishop Bill described the Mass as an “opportunity to honour those who distinguish themselves either through years of service or excellence” as staff from across our diocese were “responding to the call to serve”.
Prior to the Mass, a ceremony was held to recognise members of staff and their commitment to Catholic education. Twenty-nine members of staff received 25 Years of Service Awards which were presented by Bishop Bill and CSO Director of Schools, Dr Michael Slattery.
This was followed by the presentation of the Monsignor Coolahan Awards, which recognise the significant service and contribution made by each recipient in various aspects of excellence in education in Catholic schooling in the diocese.
This year's Monsignor Coolahan Award recipients, as nominated by their peers:
- Outstanding Leadership: St Joseph’s Primary School, Denman – Aaron Moon
- Excellence in Teaching: Holy Name Primary School, Forster – Amy McGarry
- Excellence in School Support: St Joseph’s Primary School, Wingham – Mary Stepowikow
- Excellence in School Support: Holy Spirit Primary School, Kurri Kurri – Patricia Kinsley
- Excellence in Community: St Mary’s Primary School, Scone
- Excellence in First Five Years of Teaching: St Joseph’s Primary School, Wingham – Lisa Schmitzer
Bishop Bill asked the congregation to “re-educate yourselves, as we stand here unified by a bright future in our vision for Catholic education in our diocese. We carry all those who we are here to support.”
Each school community marked this commitment with the tradition of bringing the names of all members of staff to the foot of the alter.
The commitment to ministry by members of the Catholic school’s community, involves a pledge to strive for excellence and uphold the values of justice, equity, professionalism and respect for all.
Bishop Bill urged the congregation to remember they were part of a “community bound by the ages” and thanked all the staff for their commitment.