Celebrating a Catholic leader

WelCom May 2021 Annette Scullion Mary-Ann Greaney, long-standing parish and formation leader with the Archdiocese of Wellington, was farewelled by staff, colleagues and friends at a thanksgiving morning tea last…

WelCom May 2021

Annette Scullion

Celebrating a Catholic leader Archdiocese of Wellington
Mary-Ann Greaney is pictured with Mons Charles Cooper after a thanksgiving Mass for the parish leadership team. Photo: Supplied

Mary-Ann Greaney, long-standing parish and formation leader with the Archdiocese of Wellington, was farewelled by staff, colleagues and friends at a thanksgiving morning tea last month at the Wellington Catholic Centre. 

Mary-Ann began her ministry with the archdiocese in 2008. She lists among her highlights the Mission Expo in 2020, Synod ‘17 and her facilitation of a priests’ assembly.

‘I loved the big events when people came together’ Mary-Ann says. She particularly recalls the social justice hui in 2011, a weekend event with 30 workshops; the picnic at parliament grounds, to raise awareness
that there is enough ‘when we share’; the political forum on child poverty, an ecumenical event in 2014 at St Paul’s Cathedral attended by more than 1,000 people and with speakers including political party leaders, Cardinal John Dew, Bishop Justin Duckworth, and then Commissioner for Children, Dr Russell Wills.

‘I have especially enjoyed going into parishes and ministering alongside local leadership, facilitating parish gatherings and running workshops. I have been energised by the People of God,’ Mary-Ann says.

Speaking to those gathered at her morning tea, Mary-Ann said, ‘I leave with a sense of privilege for my time ministering in ADW and recognise we have something special here. I don’t want to ever take what we have for granted. Over the years I have been a member of a number of different teams where we have all played our part in making ADW “buzz” – Parish Leadership Ministry, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, fellow directors, the Synod team, Justice Peace and Development, and many others.’

Mary-Ann outlined five key areas of particular importance to her: Cardinal John Dew’s leadership; lay leadership; archdiocesan synods; women in leadership; and the Presentation (PBVM) Congregation, to which she has been formally connected for over 30 years as a lay member.

Describing herself as ‘being gifted with the PBVM charism’, Mary-Ann said, ‘I often wear an image of Nano Nagle – the foundress. This relationship has given me many wonderful opportunities that have added value to my ministry here. Being PBVM influences the choices I have made – including joining Launch Out [lay leadership formation programme] – and informs the way I do ministry.’

Mary-Ann said, ‘I have travelled extensively in recent years and it is clear to me we stand tall on the world stage when it comes to lay leadership. Other countries seek us out to talk about what we do here.’

Mary-Ann concluded saying, ‘I am grateful for my time here ministering alongside you all and for the part each of you has played. Together we have made a difference. Thank you.’ 

Mary-Ann’s friend and colleague Joan McFetridge said, although sad to bid farewell, the day was one of thanksgiving and gratitude for Mary-Ann. ‘When I think of your years of ministry with the archdiocese – and your wider ministry within the Church goes way before that – I think of your energy, joy, delight, passion, enthusiasm, your listening skills, and your understanding of ministry as gift meeting need. You never assumed you knew what people wanted.

Mary-Ann was born and brought up in Auckland where she began her working career as a schoolteacher. Since then, she has been an active parishioner of St Joseph’s Upper Hutt for 45 years.

Married to her husband Kevin, she is the mother of three sons and three daughters, and grandmother of six grandsons and three granddaughters. ‘I have great fun with our grandchildren and enjoy their company very much,’ she says.

Mary-Ann worked in her own business for 27 years involving IT outsourcing, financial management, payrolls and desktop publishing, with clients New Zealand-wide, in the UK and in Australia. ‘Our business is still flourishing and is managed by my husband these days,’ she said.

In her leisure time, Mary-Ann enjoys gardening and creating ‘rustic’ garden items from recycled pallets, as well as walking.

Looking ahead, Mary-Ann says she is looking forward to taking time for herself, catching up on many tasks, learning to use public transport, and ‘staying alert to where God may be calling me next – once I have had a good break’.