Local Catholics shine in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

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Catholics featured prominently in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list who have served the community across a variety of fields including education, health, welfare and the life of the Church.

Scholar, writer and regular Catholic Weekly contributor Anna Krohn OAM.

Regular Catholic Weekly contributor Anna Krohn said she was honoured to accept her Medal of the Order of Australia as a way of recognising the work of so many women in the Church; particularly the “unsung heroes” she has worked with in the service of marriage, family and life, through the Catholic Women’s League and the Anima Women’s Network and many other Catholic institutions and organisations.

Anna received her award for service to the Catholic Church of Australia including as chair of the Australian Catholic Life, Marriage and Family Council and as president of the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga, having served as a board member since 2015 and secretary of the Ballarat Diocese branch since 2015.

An educator and educational writer who has worked for the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Anna is also a national convenor of the Anima Women’s Network since its genesis in 2003 and a board member of the Caroline Chisholm Library Melbourne since 2005, among a host of other responsibilities.

“I actually didn’t realise how many boards I have been on,” she laughed. “A lot of my work is volunteer and honorary so it is quite an honour to be recognised for work that is service-based and is work for the common good.

“I see it as a way of acknowledging the value of that work and the role of Catholics in society generally. Especially post-COVID I feel there’s a lot of healing and building to be done after two years of restrictions and lockdowns.

“I feel that women and men informed by the spirituality of the faith and the desire to do good and love and serve others really do a lot of good for the future of Australia. And I think women especially have a strong attraction to striving for the common good, particularly in times of crisis. That’s true in the Church as well as in society more broadly.”

Former Wollongong bishop, and before that a bishop of Sydney, the Emeritus Bishop Peter Ingham was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the Catholic Church.

Emeritus Bishop Peter Ingham AM.

He said he was “so surprised” to receive the honour and wanted to dedicate it to the people of the Diocese of Wollongong.

“I usually think of myself as a very ordinary horse in this human race, I didn’t see that I did anything spectacular but I’ve basically just tried to be there for people,” he said, adding that a lot of his work as a bishop was “loitering with intent”.

“The loitering is the hanging around after Masses and school functions, Confirmations and whatever. And the intent is the witness to the Gospel; getting to know people and mixing with them and treating them as equals so that when they did have something they wanted to talk to you about they didn’t have an inhibition about approaching you.

“Basically what I’ve tried to do is to put ‘fresh heart’ into people and to encourage them to persevere in their faith in Jesus Christ and the consequent goodness then that flows from that so as to make a positive social contribution to the common good of everybody.

“If we have positive values to live by we strengthen the moral fabric of our nation. Particularly among our Catholic people if they really try to live our faith they’re a great force for good in the community.”

“There’s an old French proverb that says’ Gratitude is the memory of the heart’ and in a sense I’m grateful for the goodness of so many people across the Illawarra, the Shoalhaven, the Macarthur, in the parishes, schools, CatholicCare, our Bishop Brian Mascord and clergy, religious congregations and the wonderful volunteers and co-workers.

Former executive director of Sydney Catholic Schools Dr Dan White said he was “very humbled and honoured” to receive a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to Catholic education over four decades.

Dr Dan White OAM pictured at his farewell from Sydney Catholic Schools at St Mary’s Cathedral 9 April 2019. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“But equally in accepting the award I was delighted that it doesn’t just recognise my personal contribution but the contribution of outstanding leaders and Catholic school principals that I’ve been privileged to share the journey with over my career,” he said.

Having the “first inkling” at age 15 he would like to be a teacher, it took him several years to commit to that path but says it was the best decision he ever made.

“The great joy of my work was being able to live out my faith and commitment to my Catholic Church but at the same time broaden young people’s minds and make contributed to the academic research in to how children best learn as well.

“I also feel privileged that I’ve had the support of my wonderful wife Sue and my family because you can’t achieve the sort of things that make a difference in your professional life if you don’t have people close to you, your mentors and people who support you, during the tough times as well.”

Queen Elizabeth with members of the British Royal family appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as part of Trooping the Color parade during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London June 2, 2022. Photo: Catholic News Service

Other local Catholics honoured this year include St Canice’s Parish parishioner Suzanne Mary Dominguez (OAM) for service to the museums and galleries sector, Vinnies volunteer John Dasey (OAM) for service to the community through a range of roles, St Ignatius College Riverview teacher’s aid Kim Prodinger (OAM) for service to education and to the community, and Lindfield parishioner Stephen Liu (AM) for service to cancer support services and to the community.

Also on the list are founder and vice chair of the Australian Residents Anglo-Indian Association Hector Soans (OAM), former chair of the Parramatta Diocese Finance Council and Parramatta diocesan entities John Thomas (OAM), and Antony Hasham (AO) of Sylvania for his work with children’s charities, community health and drug education through Life Education Australia.

Dr Louis McGuigan (AM) a parishioner at St Declan’s Parish Penshurst was awarded for his significant service to rheumatology, and to community health, while Enfield’s Monica Chu (OAM) a trustee of Chinese Catholic Community Homes Ltd was awarded for service to the community through a range of roles.

Outstanding service

From the Archdiocese of Sydney

Dr Louis McGuigan AM of St Declan’s Parish, Penshurst
Antony Hasham AM AO of Sylvania
Dr Dan White OAM former executive director of Sydney Catholic Schools
Suzanne Mary Dominguez OAM of St Canice’s Parish, Elizabeth Bay
Monica Chu OAM a trustee of Chinese Catholic Community Homes
Kim Prodinger OAM teacher’s aide and volunteer at St Ignatius College Riverview
John Dasey OAM St Vincent de Paul volunteer

Greater Sydney

Stephen Liu AM of Holy Family Parish, Lindfield
John Thomas OAM former chair of the Parramatta Diocese Finance Council and other diocesan entities
Hector Soans OAM of Kenthurst Parish and a supporter of Catholic charities

Across NSW

Emeritus Bishop Peter William Ingham AM retired bishop of Wollongong and former Sydney bishop
Mary Donnelly OAM of Sacred Heart Parish, Cootamundra
William Kelly OAM of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Parish, Orange, and a member of the Bishops’ Ordination Committee, Diocese of Bathurst
William Murphy OAM of St Raphael’s Parish, Cowra

Across Australia

Mark Perica AM of St Carthage’s University Catholic Parish, Parkville, University of Melbourne
Dr Anita Heiss AM author and poet, QLD
Anna Krohn OAM chair of the Australian Catholic Life, Marriage and Family Council and president of CWL Victoria and Wagga Wagga, VIC
Sister Brigid Arthur AO for distinguished service to social welfare, particularly asylum seekers and refugees, and to Catholic education, VIC
Joseph de Bruyn AO trustee and director of Campion College and other Catholic charities, VIC
Sr Angela Ryan OSB OAM Brigidine Sisters, Catholic Religious Australia and Professional Standards Resource Group, VIC
Monsignor Francis Marriott OAM priest of the Diocese of Sandhurst, VIC
Margaret Addicoat OAM of St Jude’s Parish, Scoresby VIC
Jeannette Ayre OAM of St Benedict’s Parish, Kangaroo Point QLD
John Batley OAM of St John the Baptist Parish, Plympton SA
Boguslawa Bliszczyk OAM of the Polish Catholic Church VIC
Giuseppe Cavuoto OAM of Holy Rosary Parish, Prospect SA and member of the Padre Pio Association
Charles Hawell OAM of Holy Cross Parish, Redcliffe QLD
Pauline Kenny OAM of Hectorville Parish SA
Gael Perry OAM of St Mary of the Angels Parish, Geelong VIC
Patricia Rodrigues OAM former director of Catholic Secondary Principals Australia, WA