At a Mass on Thursday evening (3 April 2014) in St Francis Xavier's Cathedral Wollongong to mark the retirement of Kathleen McCormack, after 34 years of service to CatholicCare, and 29 years as Director, Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong was delighted and honoured to announce that Pope Francis has declared Kathleen a Dame of the Order of Saint Gregory The Great.
The citation reads:
Francis, Supreme Pontiff, is pleased to accede to the request made to him that, on account of your positive and generous work for the growth and development of CatholicCare and, as a testimony of his goodwill, designates you, Kathleen Vera McCormack, Diocese of Wollongong, to be declared a Dame of the Order of Saint Gregory The Great, granting you the right to all the privileges that accompany this dignity.
Bishop Ingham said, "Kath is a most worthy recipient of this award and I know she will treasure it and do it honour. We offer her our congratulations and wish her every blessing for the future."
Kathleen was CatholicCare's (formerly Centacare) first employee. Under her leadership it has developed beyond recognition and now has a staff of 194 committed, professional employees and more than 100 dedicated volunteers in Wollongong, Campbelltown and Nowra.
During her time as Director of CatholicCare, Kathleen has been actively engaged in establishing many community-based organisations and committees, and has worked extensively in Family Services, Child Protection and Out-Of-Home Care and more recently, Ageing and Disability Services. She has been involved in successful lobbying campaigns to Federal and State Government and has played an integral role in the development and ongoing work of Catholic Social Services Australia.
On Australia Day 2007 Kathleen was named a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her outstanding service to the community of the Illawarra region through the development and implementation of social welfare services, particularly through CatholicCare.
Kathleen's ministry at CatholicCare will always be highly valued by the Diocese of Wollongong. She has made a difference to the lives of countless people and has gone about her important ministry with grace and dedication, not seeking recognition or fanfare, but focussed only on the dignity of the people whom she served. Her commitment, competence and contribution will be sorely missed.
Kathleen was replaced on 10 March 2014 by Mr Michael Austin as the Director of CatholicCare for the Diocese of Wollongong. Michael is a social worker and counsellor, with over 20 years experience in the community and welfare sector as practitioner, manager and executive. Prior to this appointment, Michael was employed at CatholicCare Sydney, as the Executive Director, Family and Community Services.