Three Sydney Catholics have received papal honours for their lifetime contributions to the Church in Sydney. Justice Francois Kunc was named a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great, Neville Moses a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great, and Gemile Mellick a Dame of the Order of St Sylvester.
Bishop Terry Brady presented the awards at St Mary’s Cathedral House on 3 March.
Chancellor Chris Meney congratulated the three recipients “for their fine efforts in supporting so many of the good works of our Church and the broader community”.
In a statement read by Mr Meney, the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, commended recipients.
“It is very fitting that these three wonderful Catholic laypeople are being appropriately honoured for their selfless commitment and service,” he said.
Justice Kunc, a Supreme Court judge, chairman of the Palestrina Foundation, a member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission and former cathedral cantor, said he was “quite overcome” at the “great honour”.
“I have had the privilege over many, many years to work with remarkable people in the Church, and I have enjoyed every moment of it.
Mr Moses was honoured for his support of religious orders and his dedication to his parish of Malabar.
“If in any way I have earned this honour, I have earned it because of the people that I have helped, and the people who have supported the cause of the Church … it isn’t for me; it’s for them,” he said.
Mrs Mellick, nominated for her work as a catechist, her parish contributions, and her volunteer work with Vinnies, said didn’t immediately understand the significance of a papal award.
“When I realised what an important honour this is, I was speechless,” she said.
“My life has just been so ordinary, just doing whatever comes along, but my faith has been the most important thing.”