Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (13: 47-53) in which Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a dragnet that once full is hauled ashore and sorted by the fishermen who will collect the good fish in baskets but throw the bad away. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about Saint Dominic whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says Dominic was born in Castile and became a canon of the cathedral of Osma. He accompanied his bishop in a mission of preaching against the Albigensian heresy, which was then strong in southern France. In 1216 he founded the Order of Preachers, dedicated to saving souls by preaching and persuasion. Like the Franciscans, founded a few years before, the Dominicans put great importance on poverty, both of the individual and of the community, and of the need to be involved directly in the world while still living some form of monastic life. The Dominicans, in particular, altered the course of intellectual history by making a well-thought-out and rational response to the new learning that was appearing as long-forgotten thinkers such as Aristotle became known once more in the Christian West. Dominic died at Bologna on 6 August 1221. So today Fr Paul invites us to pray, ‘St Dominic…Pray for us!’ And a bit of trivia to close: Fr Paul notes the slide behind him indicates that St Dominic’s memorial day is August 8 not, today, August 3. He says the reason for this is that when Mary MacKillop was made a saint St Dominic’s memorial day was changed to this date.

Father Leo Donnelly: Centacare grew out of a very obvious need and if you look at the projects Centacare has realised the extent of those needs. They have been an extraordinary force in our Parish here in Port Macquarie and they have been in existence now for 20 years and I would like to congratulate them on the wonderful work they have done over those 20 years.

Tony Davies: I suppose the original way of 1995 was the commencement of Centacare. We were the first Parish model Centacare in Australia to be recognised and be allowed to be a member of the Catholic Social Services Australia. That was a major breakthrough.

The second one was probably the development of our programs for people with disabilities. That was the creation of the group home, I.M.A.G.E group home. And that allowed us to have a base to operate our disability services.

The other one was, in the early days, was the achievement of retrieving the current funding of the Youth Refuge, all done on voluntary basis. So they were the three main early ones.

Then we went into the mid 90 type areas or the late 90 type areas, and we started to work on the development of community housing and now we have just over 48 properties across the Hastings area. Supporting people who are socially and financially disadvantaged.

They’re some of the major achievements. Some of the other ones that we worked alongside with was the development of the Peace Community Youth Club, establishing this and we basically went parallel with this for nearly 10 years as a ace achieving PCYC in New South Wales.

Speaker: Respecting the dignity of each person.

Validating the culture of others.

Emphasising our commonalities rather than our differences.

Actively identifying our individual strengths.