A packed cathedral of family and friends rejoiced with over 100 recipients of the first Fitzgerald Awards of the Archdiocese of Wellington last month.
Similar awards were made in the Jubilee Year of 2000, but the 2006 Synod recommended that they be given in honour of Dr John Patrick Fitzgerald (1815–1897 [left]), early settler and ‘catechist of Wellington’ as Bishop Pompallier called him.
A man of committed social conscience, he worked for reform in both hospital and prison systems and had a particular concern for those who could not afford basic medical or surgical treatment.
The Fitzgerald Awards were made in relation to the four key priorities of the synod – they honour people who have inspired parish liturgy and inculturation, worked in education and sacramental preparation or served on parish hospitality and finance committees.
Outreach to the wider community sees them in Legion of Mary, Habitat for Humanity, Refugee and Migrant Services, Catholic Women’s League, Family Reunification Trust, St Vincent de Paul Society, Faith and Light, prison and hospital visitation.
They are the ‘salt and light’ that synod participants dreamed the archdiocese could be.
The Stokes Valley parish choir (above right) included the youngest recipients, Kone and Miriama Launiuvao, Jacinta Tafili and Tiana Lafaele.
More awards will be made in South Island parishes this month.
Pictured left are recipients from Masterton, Grahame Krivan, Marilyn Bouzaid, Evelyn Maroulis, Nora Clarke and Elaine Beck.