Papal Honours to Perth trio

17 Sep 2008

By Anthony Barich

Denis and Ann Cullity with Archbishop Barry Hickey, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and Vicar General Fr Brian O’Loughlin at St Thomas More College Chapel. Photo: Archdiocese of Perth.

Archbishop Barry Hickey has bestowed Papal Honours on three Perth Catholics, Peter Tannock and Denis and Ann Cullity, for their significant contribution to society and the Church in the name of Christ.

The Papal Honours recognise a special bond with the Pope. It is one of five pontifical orders of Papal Honour in the Catholic Church, bestowed on Catholic men and women in recognition of their service to the Church, unusual labours, support of the Holy See and the good example set in their communities and country.

Dr Peter Tannock, who was appointed as a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great, received his award at Notre Dame University. Dr Tannock’s Knighthood is in recognition of his unique contribution to the life of the Church and for his contribution to the betterment of society.

In awarding the Knighthood, the Archbishop noted that Dr Tannock’s contribution to Australian society has been in university life as a Professor of education at State level, in edu    cation policy formation at national level with the Australian government and in football administration, “a pursuit which goes to the very heart of our identity”.

The Archbishop also noted that he was director of Catholic education for a number of years, during which time he guided “enormous expansion” of the Catholic school system in WA, framed and implemented forward-looking policy for our schools, encouraged lay formation in Christian leadership for teachers and principals and protected and fostered the Catholicity of our education system.

At national level he served as chairman of the National Catholic Education Commission and in more recent years as Vice Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Broome and, “in record time”, Sydney.

Archbishop Hickey with Mr Cullity and Dr Peter Tannock. Archbishop Barry Hickey has bestowed Papal Honours on three Perth Catholics, Peter Tannock and Denis and Ann Cullity, for their significant contribution to society and the Church in the name of Christ. Photo: Supplied.

“His awesome contribution at all levels of education, primary, secondary and tertiary, including the theological education of our seminarians, has moved the Holy Father to honour Peter with the Papal Knighthood of membership of the Order of St Gregory, whose insignia and documents of admission I gladly present to him now with my heartfelt congratulations,” the Archbishop said.

Dr Tannock said that he was surprised to receive the prestigious award, and that he has loved his work for the Church over a long period of time.

Mr and Mrs Cullity received their Papal Honours at St Thomas More College on September 14.

Archbishop Hickey said that for many years, the Church in Perth and beyond has been edified by the commitment of Denis and Ann Cullity to the betterment of society, as a direct expression of their love for Jesus Christ and His Church. The couple were also presented with a membership of the Order of the Knights of St Gregory the Great, prestigous awards that are given by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

“I could read out a long list of causes, charities and education projects they have supported, but I know I would never have a complete list,” the Archbishop said of the Cullitys’ efforts for the Church and society.

The Archbishop, who presented the awards to the Cullitys on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – the victory of Christ through His death and resurrection – said that the redemption Jesus won for us is the inspiration for those who follow Him to bring His Good News to the world, “not only to the Church but to every sector of human activity”.

“In this, Christ is revealed as a light to the world through those who carry his flame of love and practical assistance,” the Archbishop said, adding that the spirit of the call to mission is made clear in Vatican II”s Gaudium et Spes – the Church in the Modern World.

“The Church’s voice has been heard by Denis and Ann in their sense of mission,” he said.

“I know that at least during the period when Denis was a member of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council he kept a copy of John Paul II’s encyclical on Social Justice, Centessimus Annus, in his pocket to dip into on his travels.

“For accepting the mission of the people of God in the world so effectively and fully, I thank God that their work has been acknowledged suitably by the Papal Award to both husband and wife.”