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Extraordinary gifts of ordinary people


From cleaning the church and maintenance work, to leadership roles and faith formation, the recipients of the 2017 Archbishop’s Awards for service to parish life demonstrate the myriad of gifts that people bring to our Catholic community.

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Vin Angley
Emmaus, Colonel Light Gardens

Vin has lived and worked in Emmaus parish for more than 55 years and has been active in parish ministry for more than 40 years. Known as the ‘patriarch’, he has held various volunteer roles including on the counting team and the finance committee. He was an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist from 1982 to 1987, has spent time volunteering for St Vincent de Paul, and is a member of the Knights of the Southern Cross.

Pauline Angley
Emmaus, Colonel Light Gardens

Pauline’s roles include being an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist from 1987 to 2016 and 26 years on the altar society and rosters, only retiring in 2016. She spent a year as a member of the parish pastoral council, has worked on the St Therese ladies auxiliary for many years and still volunteers as a member of the counting team and as a minister to the sick in homes, nursing homes and hospitals.

Theophilus and Chrisby Augustine

Theo and Indra migrated from Sri Lanka to Newton with their son in 1997 and immediately began participating in various parish ministries and organisations. These comprise involvement in adult faith formation, the conducting of at least 10 Bible study courses, four ALPHA courses and in recent times, leadership of the parish Lenten discussion groups.

Indra is an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and commentator/lector for Sunday Masses. Theo is a member of the Newton parish pastoral council as well as being a regular commentator and lector for Sunday Masses. Both are also members of the parish English choir.

Amy Tordesillas Bartjes

After returning from a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, in the 1970s, Amy invited a small group of Filipino Catholic migrant families to meet on a regular basis for Saturday Holy Rosary and to pray for world peace. Within four decades this group has become a living institution. Money collected from these gatherings goes to the Philippine General Hospital to help pay the medical expenses of children whose parents struggle financially.

Amy has taken on active roles at St Pius X Church, such as being a liturgical minister, commentator, special minister of the Eucharist and recently, the convenor of a Lenten discussion group. She has also continued to devote her services and time to charities and socio-cultural causes in the Filipino community and continues to present a regular Radyo Pilipino program on Adelaide Multicultural Radio 5EBI 103.1FM.

Nazzareno Bigolin

Nazzareno, known as Reno, is one of the pillars of Mater Christi church at Seaton. Some 50 years ago, when the idea to build the present church was proposed, Reno arranged for his company to donate the steel. With the help of the Italian community he then laboured towards its actual construction. In more recent times, Reno has acted as a collector and counter at Mass, and has trained new counters. With such a methodical, meticulous and honest attitude, this has led to him being entrusted to be the banker each week. So committed is he to the parish, that even the planning of any holiday includes ensuring a replacement is assigned before he will contemplate heading off. Along with his wife, Reno is also instrumental in organising bus trips for members of the parish community, especially the elderly.

Hugh Cunningham
Adelaide Cathedral parish

Hugh has been nominated in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to the liturgical life of the parish as choir director and organist for the past 20 years. His efforts include countless hours of practice and rehearsals to ensure his music is both prayerful and beautiful. As well as his work with the choir, Hugh has also been willing to take on the role of vice chairman of the parish council and has been a member of both the finance committee and the liturgy committee. Hugh is a humble man who, from childhood, believed in the beauty of the Mass and the importance of his faith in all aspects of his life. His leadership enriches the lives of those who work with him by creating an environment of faith, a love of music and singing, and of lasting friendships.

Donato De Ieso

Donato has been part of the St Francis Church community from its beginnings in 1953. In 1972 he married Dorina in Newton parish where they stayed and raised their three children. Donato volunteered his time and service to building both the old and new church. He has remained committed to the ongoing upkeep of the church, in particular caring for the grounds every Saturday morning for the past 30 years. Donato holds the position of president of the devotees of San Donato, a group that regularly celebrates the feast day on the first Sunday in August. He consistently participates with their banner at all parish feast celebrations.

Angela Ferraro

Angela’s work in the community began in 1953 when the parish was first established. She has been an active member ever since in different parish ministries and organisations including an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, a member of the pastoral care group and bringing Holy Communion to the sick and housebound. Angela has been a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order for more than 36 years, serving as secretary and treasurer for the Newton fraternity and as minister, treasurer and secretary for the regional fraternity. Currently Angela is serving as the chairperson for the parish liturgy committee, is a lector and is in charge of the parish English choir. Her other work includes taking care of the piety stall and organising the cleaning roster, which includes her own efforts, plus maintaining the upkeep of the sanctuary every Saturday morning.

Eva Geelen

Eva Geelen is an active member of the Annunciation Church. Her strong faith is action-based as much as it is prayer-based, being generous with her time and showing great stewardship when it comes to sharing. She sings in several choirs, is a dedicated minister of the Word and a Eucharistic minister. For some years Eva taught the sacramental programs in the church and still loves to lead the Sunday children’s liturgy. Together with her husband Peter, they are active members of Couples for Christ and International Rosary.

Peter Geelen

Peter has been a stalwart of the Annunciation Church for decades, eagerly and joyfully serving God always. His faith is a living faith and he can be trusted to practice what he preaches. Peter is willing to share his skills for the benefit of the parish, whether it be baking a tiramisu or applying his handyman services for the maintenance of the parish grounds and in the manufacture of structures for special festivities, such as Easter and Christmas.

Ethel Kaukas
Morphett Vale

Being a lady of many talents, Ethel was never scared of taking on the physical upkeep of the church grounds, and took on the role of mowing the lawns and dead-heading the roses for many years, ensuring the church and in particular the cemetery always looked its best. Only illness prevented her from continuing this work, when it took a whole committee to take over doing what she alone once did. Having overcome her illness, Ethel has now taken on the role of cleaning the inside of the old church. On top of this, Ethel takes on the duties of Eucharistic minister and also organises the ‘Rosary for Priests’ on Wednesday mornings.

Samuel Krupsky

Sam has been an active member of the parish pastoral council and a member of the finance council and chairman for several years, at a time when significant rationalisation of churches and major redevelopments occurred. Sam is a special minister, a collector at Mass every weekend and volunteers on the counting roster. One of his more practical gifts is his IT skills which he unstintingly offers to members of the parish who are more IT challenged. Alongside this is his ability to turn his talents to handyman tasks. Sam has been involved in the parish outreach program which supports the Timor Leste seminarian project and, through his study efforts in Archdiocesan courses, has helped to provide a richer and better service to his own community.

Rose La Forgia
Morphett Vale

Rose is an exceptional parishioner and a great person to have around. She is always willing and able to offer support in the important voluntary work of her parish in whatever capacity is needed. This includes cemetery clean-ups, St Vincent de Paul support and assistance at garage sales and the op shop. Her other works include being a Eucharistic minister on a regular basis and the operation of the ‘Piety Stall’. Her versatility and willingness to go the extra mile for her community makes Rose a most valuable parishioner.

Michael & Pamela Lawless
St Ann’s

Mike and Pam have lived, worshipped and served faithfully and devoutly in the Seacombe Gardens Catholic community for more than 50 years. In that time they have actively led various prayer groups and devotions for parishioners, and have been long time members of the Charismatic Community and Couples for Christ. Mike and Pam have faithfully fulfilled their vocation as special ministers of the Eucharist for many decades, and even now, still take Eucharist to about 20 sick and elderly residents at the nearby aged care facility in Marion.

Some years ago Mike’s architect expertise was instrumental in the gutting and renovating of the historical St Ann’s Chapel, damaged in an earthquake in the 1950s. He then played a significant role in designing the Holy Spirit Church, completed in 2001, and designing new classrooms for Marymount College. In addition, Mike has played a leading role in many parish volunteer working parties for maintenance and gardening around the buildings.

Betty Lisacek
Morphett Vale

Betty’s contribution to the Mary Help of Christian’s parish life is most worthy of recognition. She has been the organist at all normal liturgical celebrations as well as being willing to volunteer at various extra religious ceremonies requiring organ music. This includes playing at short notice for funerals, weddings and many other religious liturgies. For more than 15 years Betty has been a regular volunteer for her parish and is a great example of faithful ministry and discipleship for the younger generation of her parish community.

Eddy McGreevey
Morphett Vale

Eddy has given many faithful years of service to his parish but he is most remembered for his financial collecting and counting. He also has been involved in large fundraising projects, designed to help the parish provide viable services to the wider community within the southern area. Eddy is a loyal member of the parish, attending regular and special liturgical celebrations and contributing to the efforts behind the scenes. Despite debilitating medical problems, Eddy still makes the effort to be part of the sacristan team, doing what he can for his community with grace and dignity.

Dennis and Liz Morris
Morphett Vale

Dennis and Liz have been members of the Morphett Vale community for many years, generously pledging their time and effort in the ongoing life of the parish. In their retirement years, their participation has been even greater, with assistance offered in the office and in the op shop and at garage sales to raise funds for the community. In recent times, the parish has been making efforts to give the buildings and grounds a facelift and often you will see Dennis out there, on his own, cleaning bricks, shifting soil and performing so many other chores needed to beautify the edifice.

Sr Liz Morris rsj

Sr Liz has been an integral spiritual leader and mentor to many families in Keith’s Catholic community during her role as pastoral director, in the absence of a resident priest. She has travelled thousands of kilometres to provide faithful service to the liturgical life of her parish, reaching out to reconnect people back into the community. Her kindness, unfailing support and inclusiveness are wonderful examples of discipleship.
Sr Liz has a wonderful gift of supporting families in times of bereavement, even conducting funeral services for them on request. Her involvement in the wider community includes writing Christian articles for the local paper, and presenting a half hour segment on the local radio station. Sr Liz simply lives her faith and is an example of how to live in the secular world with care, understanding and a wisdom that comes from serving God.

Frank Ronan
Morphett Vale

Frank gives of his time and talents to the service of his parish, displaying patience, gentle thoughtfulness, dedicated care and energy. In past years he has helped organise religious education for the children of the parish. He was a member of the church committee which was responsible for organising Eucharistic ministers and ministers of the Word. Today his duties include organising the collections at Mass and ensuring that Masses run smoothly, giving the priest peace of mind. For a number of years Frank ran a senior’s group, which not only meant organising speakers for each event, but also arranging the venues because they often needed to be at different locations.

Ellen Symes

After 67 years, Ellen has only just retired from the Gawler parish altar society. During her active service, Ellen has been faithful in preparing the church for the weekend celebrations by regularly arranging the floral décor, cleaning the sanctuary, polishing the brass to a high sheen and ensuring the overall beautification of the altar. This ministry is only one facet of her contribution to parish life. She has been a member of the Catholic Women’s League and has always been regular and exemplary in her commitment to parish initiatives and parish life in general.

David Turner
Morphett Vale

As a convert to the Catholic faith, David’s devotion and example of faith-centred vocation is truly inspirational. As part of the senior altar servers on Sunday mornings and night, he provides support for the priests in their service with willingness and humility and without fuss. His great interaction with the youth of the parish, in this role, has helped the younger community to reflect on the contribution they too can make to the life of their parish. Another of his jobs is curator of St Mary’s Cemetery Trust, one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in Adelaide. His work includes the maintenance, upkeep and involvement in working bees to keep the cemetery a place of beauty, peace and serenity, creating a wonderful experience for loved ones to pay respect to their departed family members.

Jan Utrata
Morphett Vale

As a parishioner of Morphett Vale, Jan is Fr Roman’s right hand man. Being a quiet achiever, he works quietly and efficiently around the parish, helping with fundraising activities, vacuuming the church regularly, sweeping around the perimeter of the church to ensure it always looks its best. This care extends to his voluntary work in the cemetery. Jan can always be relied on to help with working bees and clean-up jobs designed to beautify his parish. There are so many jobs that Jan is involved in that they become too numerous to mention. Just know that if something needs fixing up, setting up, cleaning up…Jan will be there!

Marie Dwight
Morphett Vale

Marie was nominated for being an inspiring member of the Mary Help of Christians for more than 40 years. Over this time Marie arranged the flowers for the church and provided cleaning for the church, the hall and other buildings within the parish. Marie also assisted people on low incomes through her works within the parish op shop and with St Vincent de Paul Society. She is the parish medic warden.



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