Catholics honoured in Queen's birthday list

Melbourne missionary couple Shirley and Kevin Blake and Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby were among numerous Catholics honoured in yesterday's Queen's Birthday honours list.

The Moonee Valley Leader reports Essendon couple Shirley and Kevin Blake have been honoured for their work with the Melbourne Overseas Mission.

Kevin and Shirley Blake were each named Member in the general division of the Order of Australia for their work with the Melbourne Overseas Mission spanning the past 39 years.

Mr Blake, who is secretary and has been involved since 1969, and Mrs Blake, who is fundraising director and has been involved since 1980, are retired but treat their humanitarian work as full time jobs.

Even when they were working and raising seven children their charity work did not suffer. They would fit it in after work and on weekends.

"They say if you want to get something to be done then ask a busy person," Mr Blake said.

"My brother was one of three priests in 1969 to go to Kanabea in the Gulf province of Papua New Guinea to establish hydro-electrics and schools and that's how we got involved."

The Melbourne Overseas Mission was founded in 1968 by Cardinal James Knox to provide assistance to developing countries.

ABC News reports Brisbane Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby, was one of 22 Australians awarded the nation's second highest honour, an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

He says being recognised in the honours list is also a recognition of religion.

"I think that's enormously important in today's society," he said.

The 71 year-old Archbishop says he is passionate about bringing religious faiths together.

"I do think it's a scandal that Christians are not closer together than they are at the present time," Archbishop Bathersby said.

"We've come a long way in the past 40 to 50 years but we've got so much further to go."

Former Queensland nurse and health care administrator, 86 year old Sr Josephine Crawford from the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, says she was surprised to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

"I felt very humbled by it really and I felt there were many more people who were much more worthy of the award than I was," she said.

"I was quite stunned actually and I didn't really want to accept it."

Sr Denise Coghlan, director of Jesuit Refugee Services in Cambodia, was also honoured as was cricketer Justin Langer.

SOURCE

Essendon helpers rewarded in Queen's Birthday honours (Moonee Valley Leader, 9/6/08)

Aussies honoured on Queen's Birthday (ABC News, 9/6/08)

Honours list award a win for religion: Bathersby (ABC News, 9/6/08)

Queen's Birthday honours list - general division recipients (Adelaide Now, 9/6/08)

 

 

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