Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has presented this year’s Archbishop of Sydney Awards for Student Excellence to 49 outstanding Year 12 students from Catholic Secondary schools across the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The recipients were individually recognised during a ceremony held at St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall for their commitment to Catholic values and for actively contributing to the faith life of the school, Catholic parish and the wider Church community.
First established in 1999 by Cardinal Edward Clancy, the awards are an annual tribute to some of the exceptional young men and women in Sydney’s Catholic schools, and the positive role they play as leaders of faith among their peers.
This year’s recipients were noted for their varied and far-reaching work: as catechists, altar servers, youth group leaders, minsters, social justice advocates, fundraisers, and helpers of the poor, homeless and disabled.
In his address to the awardees, Archbishop Fisher commended the students on their pursuit of moral excellence and their dedication to bettering the lives of others.
Through your commitment to living out the Gospel, you’ve made your school, parish community or family a place of love and communion” – Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
“You’ve evangelised countless people through your witness to God’s goodness and you’ve inched closer to becoming what you were created for: total union with the God who is love.”
His Grace praised students for making a conscious effort to use their God-given abilities in such selfless and righteous ways.
“You are here because of the habits you have cultivated and demonstrated as faithful children of God; for the repeated acts of leadership and service that you have so generously offered to your communities; for putting the Good News of Jesus Christ into practice,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“You are here for what you have done with your talents in the building up the kingdom of God.”
Tony Farley, Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, congratulated the students on their endeavours and for the courage they had displayed in living out their faith.
“The call to tell the truth in life will sometimes find you out on your own,” Mr Farley said.
“I imagine for many of you in your Christian faith and practice, you are not in the majority and that sometimes can be a lonely place.
“I hope you walk out of here today and know that you will be guided and loved throughout despite all the trials and tribulations.”
Mr Farley encouraged the students to lean on their support networks as they carried forth the teachings of Christ.
“Your lives will have all sorts of things happening in them, and it’s how you live your life and with whom you live your life that will make all the difference” – Tony Farley
“It starts with your family, it starts with your friends, it starts with your faith, it starts with your community.
“I pray that you keep the faith, that you spread the word and you live safely in the knowledge that God’s eternal love is with you always.”