Catholics decorated for their services to society in Australia

Catholics in Australia have been honoured for their services to the local community and nation

Gaudium Press English Edition

Newsdesk (02/02/2022 8:31 AM, Gaudium PressA total of three Catholics have received high decorations in Australia thanks to their services to the community and the nation.

Among those decorated are a priest, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia, a nun, and an architect who received the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Father Peter Williams said he was surprised by the honour. Father Peter is Vicar General of the Diocese of Parramatta and received the award for his services to the Church and to education.

He served as Director of Liturgy for World Youth Day in 2000 and 2001 and oversaw the translation of the new Roman Missal.

Fr Williams was also elected Fellow of Saint John’s College, Sydney in 2009 and Secretary of the National Liturgical Commission in 2008.

Fr. Williams was surprised by the appointment because he feels that many other priests, religious and even lay people do equally notable work on a daily basis.

A religious educator

Sister Barbara McDonough was also decorated. The religious received the Medal of the Australian Order for her educational services and her dedication to the Church.

Sister Barbara McDonough taught for over 40 years in the Daughters of Mercy schools. She taught various subjects during her teaching years, but taught mostly science classes and was one of the first teachers to teach chemistry to women in Australia.

Sister McDonough received an e-mail informing her of the honour, but she confessed to Catholic Weekly that she thought it was spam, as she had not imagined such an award: “When I received the e-mail, I thought it was spam! They had to send the e-mail twice because I didn’t answer the first one.”

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Building churches and aiding faith

The third Catholic honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia was Catholic architect of the Maronite rite George El Khouri. El Khouri received the honour for his service to architecture and the community.

For more than 30 years, El Khouri has literally helped build the faith by constructing churches in Sydney and throughout Australia in the country’s Maronite diocese.

Beautiful church buildings play a very important social role throughout history and are particularly important in helping migrants maintain their communities here and in turn contribute to the wider society,” El Khouri explained.

Catholics and helping the local community

In addition to these three Catholics, three other people received the local citizen award. They were the Zammit couple and Sister Khanh Cao.

The couple has worked assiduously for about 30 years for the Vincentian Family and is always available for any request they may have, even today. Sister Khanh Cao, together with two other sisters of her community, is always helping the needy families of the region materially and spiritually. (FM)

Compiled by Roberta MacEwan

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