Bishop’s Award winner feels blessed

Edward Dolstra is 13 years old and attends Hunter River High School. He was a recipient last year of a Bishop’s Award after being nominated for his commitment to the life of his parish.

He has been involved in altar serving for two years and mentors his younger siblings and the other junior servers. He welcomes parishioners, is a Minister of the Word and participates in the offertory procession.

Edward feels blessed to be part of his parish and to be able to openly express his strong belief in God through his parish participation. He demonstrates his gospel values by helping those around him and is mindful of his responsibility to be a good role model for his siblings and other young people attending Mass.

I asked Edward about his experience of Mass, and what it meant to him to receive the Bishop’s Award.


What is your earliest memory of church?
My first memory of going to church is when I attended Mass with my great grandparents at Laurieton. I just really enjoyed it. My great grandparents now live with us (my grandparents and three of my sisters) in Medowie. I attend Mass with my great grandmother and my younger sisters Annie and Evie at St Brigid’s, Raymond Terrace or St Christopher’s, Medowie.


How did you get involved in altar serving?

My great grandmother was asked by one of the parishioners if my sisters and I would be interested in becoming altar servers, but she wasn’t sure if we were ready. The parishioner said “don’t worry, they’ll be fine, as father and I will help them”. From then on, Father Kevin and Father Phil and other parishioners helped me learn how to become an altar server. I then taught my younger sisters. We are now all on the rosters for altar serving, gifts and welcoming.


At a time when many youth are not engaged in the Catholic Church, how do you feel a connection to God through the church?

The connection I have with God is the feeling of someone being there for me and helping me get through the hard times, a really good friend. Going to church is a good way of being able to share my feelings and belief.


What’s next for you, with regards to your involvement with your parish or the broader church?

When I’m older I would like to become a Minister of Communion, until then, I plan on doing as much as I can in any way to help my parish and community. 


What did it mean for you to be nominated for a Bishop’s Award?

It is an honour to have received the Bishop’s Award. Just being nominated was great, but to find out I was successful, was the most amazing feeling ever. I couldn’t have made it without the support of my great grandmother and the parishioners of both St Brigid’s and St Christopher’s. I am very thankful.


Nominations for the 2019 Bishop’s Awards are now open to students, Years 7-12 and young people (who have completed Year 12 and are under 25 years of age). 

If you know of a young person in your community like Edward who is living out their faith, nominate them at


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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle