Tasmanians honoured for contributions to Church mission
By Veronika Cox
Twelve Tasmanians have been acknowledged for their sustained and substantial contributions to the life and evangelising mission of the Church.
The inaugural Guilford Young Medal recipients included clergy, religious and laity from parish communities across the state.
Archbishop Julian Porteous said he had long felt the Archdiocese needed an opportunity to acknowledge those who made special contributions to the life and mission of the Church in Tasmania.
Named in honour of Archbishop Sir Guilford Young, the medal will be awarded by the Archbishop of Hobart annually on 10 November – the anniversary of Archbishop Guilford Young’s birth.
“Guilford Young was a shepherd to the Catholic community in Tasmania for thirty-three years and his influence reached far beyond the state,” Archbishop Julian said at the award ceremony on 23 November.
“He was a prominent contributor to the Second Vatican Council and its implementation, as well as an international leader in liturgical renewal and ecumenism. Guilford Young’s work at a national and state level helped change the landscape for Catholic Education in Australia. He had a deep faith and a great love for and loyalty to the Church.”
Addressing the medal recipients, Archbishop Julian noted that within the Christian community there are a variety of gifts that work together like different parts of the human body.
“Thus, our parishes and the archdiocese are able to fulfil their mission because people willingly use their gifts for the upbuilding of the parish or the archdiocese,” he said.
“Each of you have offered your particular gifts in a generous and sustained way over many years for the good of the mission of the Church here in Tasmania. I am pleased that I have this opportunity to publicly acknowledge you and thank you for what you have contributed.”
Sr Jill Dance
For six decades, Sr Jill Dance has dedicated herself to her Church community.
After entering the Novitiate of the Sisters of St Joseph in 1960, Sr Jill worked in the areas of education, spirituality, parish renewal and pastoral formation.
She held a number of principalships, including Shaw College and Sacred Heart College.
“I have always felt that in the ministries with which I have been involved, I have received more from those with whom I worked and alongside whom I walked than I have given,” she said.
“I continue to be in awe of the goodness and faithfulness of these people and of their desire to nurture their relationship with God.”
Sr Jill held various appointments including Assistant Director of Renew and Director of the Pastoral Planning and Formation Centre. She was instrumental in establishing the Josephite Mission and History Centre in New Town.
Countless students, teachers, lay people, clergy and religious have benefited from Sr Jill’s direction and leadership, generosity and love of her church.
Sr Jill said she received the Guilford Young Medal with a grateful heart, conscious of the long line of Sisters before her and of those who have worked alongside her.
“I give thanks for what God has done through the ministry in which I have been engaged over the years,” she said.
“I am enormously grateful, too, for having had the opportunity as a young adult to learn directly from Archbishop Young the teaching and spirit of Vatican II which has influenced my life and ministry ever since.”
Mr Don Mills
Bellerive-Lindisfarne parishioner Don Mills may have spent his working life in insurance, but he is better known for his long association with the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
Mr Mills’ extraordinary commitment, which includes appointments as president, president of the regional council and National Chairman, spans 65 years. He has spent countless hours working to improve the lives of those in need in his local conference, St Camillus.
Mr Mills has also been an acolyte since 2000, serving his parish even during retirement.
“Faith is the basis for my life now, really,” he said.
“Christ instructs us to love God and love our neighbour. Other people in the society are an example to me and that to me is the basis of society.”
Mr Mills said receiving the Guilford Young Medal came as a complete surprise.
“It is very humbling to receive it,” he said.
“I am extremely happy and it means a lot to me that it honours such a great man as Archbishop Young – a man I admired very much for all that he stood for personally and all he did for the Catholic Church and the people of Tasmania.”
Fr Terry Yard
Accepting the Guilford Young Medal was a poignant moment for Fr Terry Yard, who was ordained into the priesthood by Archbishop Guilford Young himself in Deloraine in 1966.
“He had a big influence in my life and I wouldn’t be a priest without him,” he said.
Fr Terry’s priesthood has been deeply pastoral.
“My faith is the very centre of my life,” he said.
“My friendship with parishioners and the fraternity I have found among priests is something I have always treasured.”
Fr Terry said his chaplaincy work – in a variety of places from Phoenix Foundry to Launceston General Hospital – held a special place in his heart.
“Chaplaincy gets you get into places that other people can’t go,” he said.
“It opens the door for many wonderful experiences. That has had a tremendous impact on me.”
Along with his work as a parish priest, Fr Terry has been involved with a vast array of organisations including Marriage Encounter, Young Catholic Workers and St Vincent de Paul.
Fr Terry was instrumental in establishing a L’Arche community in New Town, where adults with intellectual disabilities live in community with able adults, as equals.
“It taught me the tremendous contribution disabled people make,” he said.
“It’s not what we do for them; it’s what they do for us. It’s the way they live their lives and profess their faith.”
Fr Terry said his involvement with the Ashley Youth Detention Centre had also been a significant part of his pastoral life.
“I accept where they are at. They appreciate an ear and I appreciate their perspective,” he said.
Mr Robert McManus
Bellerive-Lindisfarne parishioner Robert McManus was, in a word, “chuffed” to receive the Guilford Young Medal.
The certified accountant, who has held the position of Head of the Corporate Affairs Office and State Commissioner of Taxes, has shared his knowledge, talent and expertise with numerous organisations to “make a contribution and live out my faith.”
Mr McManus said he began life as a cradle Catholic, who growing up and entering adulthood, “went with the flow culturally as much as spiritually,” before making a conscious commitment to his faith.
“The Catechism poses the question: Why did God make me?” he said.
“Answer: God made me to know, love and serve Him here on earth, and be happy with Him forever in Heaven. That is the reality in faith that eventually embedded itself in my soul. From that flowed my contribution to the Church community.”
Mr McManus has been involved in many organisations including St Vincent de Paul, St John’s Ambulance, Lifeline, L’Arche and Abbeyfield House.
He was treasurer of St Vincent de Paul Tasmania for 14 years, and has been involved with the organisation for over 50 years.
Mr McManus has also been heavily involved in the administration and other works of the Archdiocese of Hobart including the Archbishop’s Samaritans Projects, Centacare, CatholicCare and Bethlehem House.
He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2017 for his ongoing service to the community.
Mr Donald Ryan
Volunteering has always been important to Donald Ryan.
“I think I gained this aspect of my life through my parents who were always willing to be involved in the Church, and with the Catholics School my siblings and I attended,” he said.
“I always feel that I was better off being involved – it doesn’t matter at what level really. I take the attitude that even a small gesture or involvement will help.”
A passionate supporter of Catholic education in Tasmania, Mr Ryan has been actively involved in several school communities over the years.
He was a board member of St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School for four years and Chairman of the Board for five. He was a member of the Sacred Heart College Board for one year and Treasurer for four years.
Mr Ryan was a member of the Capital Projects Committee for Catholic Education Tasmania from 2007 to 2011, was re-appointed in 2019 and continues to hold the position.
In 2009, he was also appointed to the Tasmanian Catholic Education Commission.
“My family and I have had a long involvement with the Catholic Church (and also with Catholic Education),” he explained.
“I know that I can always call upon my faith in times of need, and during the good times too. It has been a source of great support and comfort, and offered me guidance and advice, sometimes directly, and other times through reflection and thought.”
Mrs Rossalyn Giudici
To date, Rossalyn Giudici has entered almost 200,000 names into a database she developed to store the information from sacramental registers.
The enormous task is only one part of her continuing dedication to the life of the Church in Tasmania.
“As Mary MacKillop said, we should never see a need without doing something about it,” Mrs Giudici said.
“So, when I was asked to step up and take on a particular role or service, I was able to say yes.”
Mrs Giudici volunteer work with the Archdiocese of Hobart Archives has not only preserved the data, but it has enabled archives staff to provide individuals with their sacramental records efficiently and also conduct family history research.
She is the weekday Sacristan for St Mary’s Cathedral in a voluntary capacity, and was inducted to the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2019 for her volunteer work and community service.
“I am a ‘Cradle Catholic’ thanks to my parents, who nurtured my faith from an early age, and to the Sisters of Mercy during my school years,” she said.
“However, I hope my faith has evolved and matured over the years, thanks again to the influence of my husband Sergio, a man of deep faith and intellect, who was very involved with the Church in Tasmania.
“I accepted the Medal in honour of Archbishop Guilford Young, and on behalf of all those who worked alongside him over many years. It is indeed an honour to be associated with him.”
Mrs Janet Hoare
When Janet Hoare was a little girl, the beauty of the liturgy captured her heart.
From a young age, she played the organ at Newstead for Sunday Mass.
The talented musician has now been the organist at the Church of the Apostles in Launceston for many years.
Her wonderful accompaniment to the liturgy each Sunday – as well as her musical contributions to Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals – is a gift cherished by the parish community.
“My Catholic faith is my entire existence and from childhood my God given gift of music has been my gift to Him,” Mrs Hoare said.
“I love the beauty of the liturgy and through my music have tried to lead our congregation in the Liturgy of the Mass and para Liturgies.”
Mrs Hoare also coordinates and trains the choir for all these liturgical celebrations.
The beautiful liturgical music experienced at the Church of the Apostles over many years is due to Janet’s appreciation of the liturgy and the generous contribution of her outstanding musical gifts.
Dr Prudence Francis
An honour in the name of Archbishop Young is particularly special to Prudence Francis, who remembers the man with great admiration.
“His influence across so many areas, particularly in disseminating the teachings of the Second Vatican Council fired the imagination of a whole generation of Catholics, as it did for me,” she said.
Dr Francis taught at Dominic College, worked for the Catholic Education Office and has held the Principal position at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School and John Paul II Catholic Primary School.
Both schools were transformed under her leadership, growing in size and innovation.
Dr Francis was later appointed Director of Mission for Calvary HealthCare.
She has also worked in the Tribunal Office of the Archdiocese of Hobart and as Archivist, establishing a successful volunteer program.
Whilst holding both these roles, she completed her PhD and the Canon Law Practice Course.
“The work and relationships forged over these years have given me an appreciation of the living activity of the Church here in Tasmania and beyond,” she said.
“To know that young people I have taught are contributing to the building of a better society is one example of the great value of Catholic education. To have hospital facilities that provide support services for patients in times of sickness and particularly at end of life is the Church at work in the here and now. Working in the Archives gives me a deeper understanding of the story of so many Tasmanian individuals and groups who have kept the flame of faith alive for 200 years and the work of the Marriage Tribunal is one of the important pastoral works of the Church.”
Generous with her time, her compassion and thoughtfulness, Dr Francis has also donated countless hours in a volunteer capacity.
Fr Gerald Quinn
When Fr Gerald Quinn was in high school, his career aspirations came directly from the books he read.
“When I read the Biggles books, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. When I was reading We of the Never-Never, I wanted to work on a cattle station in the NT,” he laughed.
Then, at a school retreat, a priest gave him some pamphlets to read about the Passionist vocation.
“I read them, and ever since that was all I wanted to do,” he said.
“I am very grateful. I pray every day I will continue to be a grateful priest.”
Fr Gerald joined The Passionist Fathers, and after several years was appointed as chaplain to Royal Hobart Hospital.
He continued this ministry for 31 years and was often seen walking down Macquarie Street at all times of the day and night – he would go whenever he was called.
Fr Gerald’s numerous and varied pastoral activities have included Chaplain for St Vincent de Paul Society Conference of St Camillus; weekend supply for Oatlands, Cygnet, Franklin and Lutana; celebrating Latin Mass at Mt St Canice and Sacred Heart churches; Executive member of the Human Life Protection Society and monthly day retreats at Maryknoll.
Fr Gerald said establishing prayer movements – he hosts monthly prayers for mothers and unborn babies in Tasmania; Catholic clergy and all other vocations; politicians; spreading the virtue of chastity and all patients and staff and the Royal Hobart Hospital – has been a major spiritual milestone.
“All these prayer movements are doing immense good,” he said.
“It is gentle, but so powerful. It has been a wonderful reminder of the unseen power of prayer.”
Mr Mark Gaetani
The wise counsel of Mark Gaetani has been significant to the sound financial position of both the Archdiocese of Hobart and the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Tasmania.
Mr Gaetani, whose working life has been focused in the area of banking and finance, has made an enormous contribution to the life of the Church in Tasmania over recent years.
“My faith – which I am fortunate and thankful for – was introduced to me at a young age and has played an important role in my life. It is central to my identity,’ he said.
“Whether it has been my participation in my local parish, my time spent in the Catholic education system, involvement in the numerous Archdiocese of Hobart’s committees/activities or finally my work with the St Vincent de Paul Society, the sense of community and shared beliefs has and continues to play a huge part in my life.”
Mr Gaetani has been a member of the Diocesan Finance Committee, and was appointed as chair from 2010-18.
For many years, he has been actively involved in the governance and administration of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Tasmania.
Mr Gaetani has been the Northern Regional President and is currently the State President of the Society.
“Compared to many in our community I’ve been fortunate to have wanted for very little if nothing at all in my life,” he said.
“My small contribution to our Church community is just a small way I can assist and contribute to the growth and wellbeing of those less fortunate in the community.”
Mrs Patricia Gartlan
As a mother of five children, Patricia Gartlan understood only too well the challenges of raising a large family and the demands on new or young mothers.
She recognised a need for women in Tasmania to have better support during pregnancy, particularly women who faced an unplanned pregnancy.
“From a young age, my faith has been of great importance to me – the basis for my understanding of the meaning and purpose of life, God at my side, a source of stability and peace,” she said.
“We need the Church to be strong and its members to be full of confidence and hope. I think we are supposed to use the talents we have been given to make that happen.”
Mrs Gartlan was among a small group of women who established the Tasmanian Pregnancy Support Service in 1975, which later became part of a national group, the Australian Federation of Pregnancy Support Services.
Mrs Gartlan and her colleagues developed a support service that supported approximately 400 clients a year, offering emotional, physical and material assistance to support pregnant women and their families.
This service, now called Pregnancy Counselling & Support Tasmania, continues to assist pregnant women in Tasmania.
Mrs Gartlan has also made a significant contribution to the work of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) over several decades, and was elected state president of the Tasmanian league.
She encouraged members to “move into the public square”, to be well informed and courageous.
“Right now, the need is for Catholics to be prepared to speak up in support of their faith,” she said.
Mrs Gartlan was made a life member of the CWL in recognition of her contribution to the organisation, and has also been to the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women.
Sr Majella Kelly
Sr Majella Kelly’s life’s work has been for her Church.
The Presentation Sister’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science, Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Theology, Graduate Diploma in Religious Education and a Masters of Education.
She has held the role of Vice Principal at Sacred Heart College and Marian College, RE coordinator at St Patrick’s College and Principal of St Mary’s College.
Sr Majella was a senior consultant at the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office and head of Human Resources. She was Head of Policy and Executive Services for the Catholic Education Office.
She was the Disadvantaged Schools Co-Ordinator for the Catholic Education Office and the Participation and Equity Program Coordinator for Independent Schools.
Sr Majella was a member of the Archdiocesan Professional Standards Resource Group, and was appointed director 1998 to 2020 for the Archdiocese.
She was elected as congregational leader of the Presentation Sisters in 2006 and held this position until 2014.
She has made a significant contribution to the social housing project at MaryKnoll, which will leave Tasmania with a lasting legacy of the work and mission of the Presentation Sisters.
Sr Majella has given countless hours of work to St Vincent de Paul and Loui’s Van.
Currently, Sr Majella is working with The Presentation Sisters’ Archives, housed at the Archdiocese of Hobart Archives and Heritage collection. She is enjoying the immersion in the history of her own order and discovering a few treasures along the way.
Sr Majella was awarded a medallion from Catholic Education Tasmanian for Outstanding Service to Tasmanian Education in 2006.