“Cogs in a wheel” honoured by Pope Francis

Two Newcastle volunteers, Judy and Carl Nolan, received the highest medal that can be awarded to lay people by the Papacy, ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’.

“Cogs in a wheel” honoured by Pope Francis

We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.


Carl and Judy Nolan of Corpus Christi Church, Waratah, take this statement very seriously. The words are from a hymn titled "The Servant Song" which was sung with gusto at the Volunteers Mass at Corpus Christi last night.


The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Cardinal Cassidy of the Cross of Honour, "Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice", to Carl and Judy, in recognition of their many years of dedication to serving God through their parish community. While the Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception honoured all volunteers, there was a strong sense of joy and gratitude that much loved parishioners had been recognised in this way.


While Carl and Judy's service includes music ministry (Judy played the organ for Mass), Special Religious Education, St Vincent de Paul Society and assisting in the parish school, they make themselves freely available to do whatever is needed.

Carl described himself and his wife, who have been married for close to sixty years, as "two cogs in a wheel that keeps the church going...we're up to our use-by date now but we'd love younger people to step forward to offer their gifts."


In his homily, Fr Barry linked the service of Mary, Mother of Jesus, to that of the many volunteers who give generously to the community. "Everything requires a 'yes'....each and every one of you has received gifts from God. When you say 'yes', like Mary, you don't actually know where that 'yes' is going to lead....Use your gifts on the stage of your own life for God's glory."


Many members of Judy and Carl's large family were there to share in their joy and the crosses were handed by Cardinal Cassidy to two of their grand-daughters to present to them.


During the Year of Faith, Bishop Bill Wright petitioned the Holy See to bestow this award on Judy and Carl Nolan in recognition of their devoted, effective and distinguished service to the Church. By the act of decree and these medals the Holy See has recognised Judy and Carl's extraordinary service, their generosity of mind and heart and their sharing of their gifts and talents to build up the local church.


Article by Tracey Edstein. The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle congratulates Judy and Carl and thanks God for the gifts that they and all our volunteers have brought to our parishes. You can read more about this prestigious event in this Newcastle Herald article.


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