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Long Service Recognition

15 March, 2023
Miss Leesa Jeffcoat, Marg Hallinan, Frs John Hogan and Peter Tonti

Long-serving staff, including volunteer Catechists, have been recognized for their commitment and service to Catholic Education at Opening School Year Masses and parish liturgies celebrated recently.

Receiving recognition for 50 years serving as a Catechist, Margaret Hallinan was presented with a commemorative plaque by Vicar General, Very Rev Peter Tonti and Catholic Education Diocesan Director Leesa Jeffcoat following the 9.30am parish Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral on Sunday 5 February.

Reflecting on her half century of providing Religious Instruction in State schools, Marg said it was a privilege to be able to continue spreading the good news through Catechetical work. “My motto is One by One, whatever that looks like, and continuing Jesus’s message, ‘Let the children come’, so they may know that Jesus loves them,” Marg said.

In 1972, while teaching at St Therese’s Catholic Primary School, Monto, then Parish Priest, Fr Peter Greene (dec), invited her to support him in spreading the good news to children attending local State Schools, recounted Marg.  “His enthusiasm was electric, and I embraced the call to let the children come,” she said.

Over the years, Marg has worked as a Catechist in close to 20 schools and State Education services in centres throughout Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast, Central Highlands and western regions, including weekly on-air sessions with Longreach Distance Education.

On receiving an award for 40 years of service to Catholic Education, Eamon Hannan, Principal of Emmaus College in Rockhampton, said he was very grateful for his career and was quite moved by the acknowledgement.

After 22 years teaching and working in various leadership roles in Catholic colleges in Brisbane, Mr Hannan joined the Diocese of Rockhampton in 2005 accepting the role of Principal at St Patrick’s College, Mackay, before moving to lead the Emmaus College community in 2016.

“It has been a privilege to work in an environment where my faith could be developed and where I have been able to work with so many fantastic young people and their families alongside wonderful colleagues,” Mr Hannan said.

Further presentations were made to 41 staff for completing 20 years (or more) of service, eight staff for 30 years (or more) and six staff received awards for 40 years of service to Catholic Education.

Miss Jeffcoat paid tribute to all long serving staff for their significant contribution to the Ministry of Catholic Education.

“I offer my thanks and deep appreciation for the commitment, dedication and tremendous service each of our recipients has provided to our communities over such an extended period,” Miss Jeffcoat said.

Meanwhile, this year’s Catholic Education Opening School Year Mass held at St Joseph’s Cathedral Rockhampton on Friday 20 January and livestreamed across the Diocese, brought together, virtually and in person, almost 3000 staff, family members and friends of Catholic Education in prayer and celebration to mark the start of the 2023 school year.

A near capacity congregation assembled in the Cathedral for the uplifting and joy-filled liturgy which was a wonderful way to commence another year of learning, according to Miss Jeffcoat.

“The Mass was filled with great hope, positivity, and praise as we came together united in prayer to recommit ourselves to serving our communities and sharing in the Church’s Mission through the education of those entrusted to our care,” Miss Jeffcoat said.