Catholics said farewell and thank you to someone who had been the Archdiocese’ go-to man for social justice questions for 15 years on August 16.
Retired former Executive Officer of the local Catholic Social Justice Council, Terry Quinn and retiring, long-time social justice volunteer Judy Bartlett were thanked at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, Highgate by a bevy of friends and well-wishers, including Bishop Don Sproxton.
Although Mr Quinn formally retired in March, it was the first opportunity to gather people together for the occasion, with Mr Quinn enjoying overseas sojourns in Ireland and Thailand in the intervening months.
Mr Quinn had worked on almost every conceivable justice issue since taking up the role in 1997 and nominated Aboriginal affairs as his favourite area when speaking to The Record on the night.
A former public servant with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in the 1970s, Mr Quinn said progress had been slow but evident when he revisited the camp of Wiluna in the late 1980s.
There was still a lot of work to do, not only in the regions and suburbs, but in the Church.
“One of the things that really worries me is [Indigenous’] lack of participation in Church matters, in Church life” he said.
“The bishops in 2000 gave a really great encouragement for all of us … to try and put a lot of effort, including finance, into putting women, and especially Indigenous women, into various institutions, parishes and educational life.
“That’s happened to a good extent in the Catholic Education Office but not so much in parishes,” Mr Quinn said.
In some brief words to those gathered, Mr Quinn said, despite the ups-and-downs of the Church, he had felt “enormously proud of being a Catholic”:
“I always have, and it’s been a struggling pride because you look at the Church and you have great hopes. It has a fantastic tradition, a great intellectual tradition and a fantastic liturgy … [and] it’s got a great mob.”
Retiring volunteer Judy Bartlett was praised for her teaching gift and the research work she had done for the Council, in issues such as homelessness and refugee welfare.
Fr Peter described her as “a heart person who is very concerned about people,” and noted her assistance out at Acacia Prison, her Amnesty International letter writing and her service as a Eucharistic Minister.
Both Mr Quinn and Ms Bartlett plan to remain actively involved in Church work.
Mr Quinn said he hoped to work on various projects, together with his local priests in the parish of Maylands. Ms Bartlett said she would continue in her work as a catechist and as a volunteer at the Christian Centre for Social Action.
Former Catholic Earthcare project officer Jim Smith took over the reigns of the Social Justice Council in May.
The Council will hold a Public Forum on September 13 at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, as a prelude to the upcoming Social Justice Sunday Statement, The Gift of Family in Difficult Times.