Fr Andrew Doohan described the Mass as an “opportunity for the Catholic school’s community to gather in response to the call to serve that each of you hears”.
Prior to the Mass, the 25 Years of Service Awards were presented to 18 members of staff in recognition of their commitment to Catholic education. The awards were presented by Vicar General, Fr Andrew Doohan and CSO Director of Schools (Acting), Gerard Mowbray.
This was followed by the presentation of the Emmaus 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 Emmaus Award recipients, as nominated by their peers, were:
- Outstanding Leadership: St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead – Larry Keating
- Excellence in Teaching (Primary): Holy Family Primary School, Merewether Beach – Jane Dougherty
- Excellence in Teaching (Secondary): All Saints’ College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland – Justin Mahoney
- Excellence in Innovation: Holy Name Primary School, Forster
- Excellence in School Support (Learning Support): St Joseph’s Primary School, Taree – Joanne Crellin
- Excellence in School Support (Learning Support): St Patrick’s Primary School, Lochinvar – Louise Barnes
- Excellence in Community: St Aloysius Catholic Primary School, Chisholm
- Excellence in First 5 Years of Teaching: St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar – Renee Wilcher
Fr Andrew asked the congregation to remember that “it is not enough just to profess, there is an action that flows from that profession of faith and love in Jesus. It is not enough for us to say I’m Catholic and then not do anything about it. If we are authentic in what we proclaim in word, then we are called to be authentic in how we live our lives and what we do.”
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.
Each school community marked this commitment with the tradition of bringing the names of all members of staff to the foot of the alter.
Fr Andrew urged the congregation to remember they “are called to act for the wellbeing of more than just ourselves”.