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Papal honours for SA leaders

National

Pope Francis has appointed two Adelaide parishioners, Bill Griffiths (Cathedral) and Greg Crafter AO (Norwood), as Knights of the Order of St Gregory the Great.

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Announcing the awards today, Adelaide Archbishop Patrick O’Regan said the Order of St Gregory the Great was one of the highest awards for lay people, bestowed on Catholic men and women deemed to have made a significant contribution to the Catholic Church.

“These two men are most worthy recipients of this high honour with their outstanding service to the community over many years,” Archbishop O’Regan said.

Dr Griffiths, a secondary school teacher by profession, joined the staff of the Adelaide Catholic Education Office in 1974, directing state-wide programs for the children of immigrants. He was also a member of the early SA Commission for Catholic Schools at a time of significant change in the Catholic school system.

He then held leadership positions in three Catholic colleges in Adelaide, including as principal of Kilmara Senior School at Thebarton and St Paul’s College at Gilles Plains, before becoming Director of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Darwin and an executive member of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) in 1993. His service to Catholic education in the Northern Territory from 1993 until 2007 was outstanding.

In 2008, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference appointed Dr Griffiths chief executive officer of the NCEC in Canberra. Returning to Adelaide in 2013 to retire, he has held a variety of leadership positions on parish, school and social service governance and management boards.

Dr Griffiths’ other major contribution to the life of the Church in Australia has been through liturgy and music. He chairs the National Liturgical Council and was until recently secretary of the National Liturgical Music Council. In Darwin, he was an inaugural member of the diocesan Liturgy Reference Group. Locally, he has served as an organist at St Mary’s Cathedral in Darwin and in the churches of the Cathedral Parish in Adelaide. A person of deep faith, Dr Griffiths is an Oblate of St John’s Abbey at Collegeville in the United States.

Dr Griffiths was nominated for the papal honour by the Bishops Conference.

A lawyer before entering State Parliament, Mr Crafter served as the Member for Norwood for 14 years, seven as Education Minister. Since becoming involved with the Young Christian Workers movement as a young man, he has continued his active involvement in the local parish and the Adelaide Archdiocese, including chair of the Clergy Care Council, chair of the Diocesan Finance Council and as a member of the Order of Malta.

At a national level, Mr Crafter served as chair of the National Catholic Education Commission for seven years during a period of complex political engagement with the Federal Government which led to long-term funding benefits for Catholic schools across Australia.

He was a director of the Little Company of Mary, which runs Calvary Health Care across Australia, for nine years, and has been involved in fundraising for the Mary Potter Hospice and Mary MacKillop Museum in Adelaide.

In 2015 Mr Crafter was appointed by the Bishops Conference to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council which was established by the Australian bishops to liaise with the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

In the wider community, he has held a number of positions on key government boards including the South Australian Housing Trust, was president of the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organisation and a member of the Council of the University of Adelaide which awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contribution to education.

Mr Crafter was nominated for the papal honour by Bishop Greg O’Kelly on behalf of the Adelaide Archdiocese.

Archbishop O’Regan will present the papal awards to Mr Crafter and Dr Griffiths in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

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