Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

CCJP Awards

Every year since 2005, CCJP has recognised an individual or organisation who has given outstanding service and commitment to social justice.

2014 - Christine Brenton

The 2014 CCJP Award has been given to Christine Brenton for her long and dedicated commitment to the work of social justice. Christine is one of the ‘quiet achievers’ often in the background and with no fanfare speaking and acting for the vulnerable and most marginalised in our community....more

After leaving school Chris worked for a Commercial Banking Company and then as payroll and social secretary for Parker Furniture. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Social Ecology from Hawksbury Agricultural College in the 1980s and later a Masters of Applied Science from the University of Western Sydney, Christine moved into an area of work that became a central concern of her life - women in crisis.

She was a Mediator at the Community Justice Centre in Penrith, during the 1980s then a Social Worker for Anglicare in the 1990s, and as a Crisis Care Worker up until 2005.

After some degree of soul searching Christine agreed to join the St Clair parish church Community Justice committee where she perseveres in attempting to raise parishioners’ awareness of many issues of injustice that prevail in our society at present. Realising the structural causes of poverty and injustice Christine regularly send petitions and letters to political leaders to advocate for change to policies and regulations. Recently Chris has been involved in trying to get better lighting near St Mary’s train station and for more regular and safer transport options for western Sydney.

Christine is a member of Glenmore Park Probus Club and a longtime, active member of WATAC.

During her daughter Marissa’s school years Christine was involved in the various mothers’clubs and Parent/Teacher associations. She was an active parent when the new Emmaus Catholic College in Eskine Park was being built and developed. Sister Patricia Tully, the principal at the time remarked how Christine was always ready to give support and help wherever she could,- again often in the background.

At present Christine has taken a leading role in the Sydney Alliance of which we will hear more this morning. Marissa, Christine and husband Max’s daughter has said of her mother:

"Mum has always been a great believer in education whether self-education through reading and experience or through academic study. She is one of those people who will research a topic or issue from every angle and then form her own opinion. If something needs doing, Mum will step up and do it - even if we tell her to slow down and let someone else do it! She likes to lead and organise and see things through to their completion."

We in CCJP can affirm all that, as Chris has been a longstanding, active and supportive member of the working committee of CCJP.

It is therefore with great pleasure we present the 2014 CCJP Award to Christine Brenton.

[Top photo: Anne Lane presenting the 20014 CCJP Award to Christine; Second photo: Christine with her family]


2012 - Brother Steve Cram

Brother Steve Cram has been a member of the Christians Brothers for over fifty years. His academic qualifications include a B.Sc(Sydney)  Grad Dip Ed Admin (Kuringai CAE) and MA(Macquarie). During that time he served as teacher and principal in schools and as a member of the Provincial team f the Christian Brothers. Steve’s concern for those on the margins has been central to his ministry....more

He was Project Manager at Mulgoa, 1992, Director of Eddy's Place Adolescent Unit, Wollongong, 1999 and part of the ERCentre for Justice and Community Education from 2000 to the present. Steve has been a strong advocate on environmental issues over these fifty years. As a member of CCJP Steve is a regular attendee at out seminars and is also a member of the Social Justice Committee of the CLRI NSW.

Recently Steve’s associate, Maria Sullivan RSJ wrote a commendation for Steve particularly on his long commitment to asylum seekers and refugees. CCJP concurs completely with the thoughts expressed by Maria and quotes her in full.

I have been associated with Brother Steve Cram for many years. He has always had a heart open to people who are poor. Indeed, his whole life has been lived out of his great love for his God expressed in a commitment to those who live on the ‘edge’. In the time I have known Steve, this has been almost exclusively with people who are refugees and asylum seekers.

Steve has done a huge amount of physical labour in his ministry of providing furniture to those who are in need. He has worked on the Edmund Rice Campus at Flemington and I have seen him organising, lifting and moving recycled furniture to refugees and asylum seekers. Perhaps more impressive for me, has been the loving, peaceful way he has dealt with those who are in need. He is patient and kind – always making allowance for faults, contradictory behaviour and unreasonable demands. In this he has been a role model to me. He is never upset or angry with the people, no matter how much he is tested. Those whom he helps may promise to turn up at a certain time – and not be there. They may promise to bring someone to help – and turn up with a small child. They may reject the furniture they have already chosen. No matter! Steve listens to them patiently and with the heart of Christ. Steve has done many big and important things in his life: it is his compassion and love for the little ones which shines out for me.

As a Christian Brother working at the Edmund Rice Centre, Steve has welcomed all of us who are involved in ministry with Sudanese Refugees at St Bakhita Centre. He has enabled us to improve our teaching programmes by making room for us in the building he used for his furniture. He has worked with us in harmony and co-operation, always ensuring that each ministry has been able to function in tandem. The Sudanese women love him: they constantly ask if Brother Steve is here. When they see his truck, he is in danger of invasion! All this, too, he accepts with humour and goodwill.

I have great pleasure in writing this commendation. I hope that Steve receives not only this award, but the highest award in the country. What a life so beautifully lived.
- Maria Sullivan, rsj


2011 - Danny Long

Danny has always had a strong belief in social justice issues and found, when working in a very conservative industry (Insurance) that he became involved in a number of altercations with workmates and employers who did not agree with or want to hear about human rights issues ...more

When he left the Insurance industry in 1992, Danny discovered that he could use his skills making a difference in people's lives.

He started to volunteer with the Burwood Community Centre from 1992 until 1995.  From 1995 until 2007 he was on the Mental Health Advisory Committee of the St Vincent de Paul Society.  From 1997 until 2005 he was also involved with the Gethsemane Community and from 2005 onwards he has been very much involved with the Edmund Rice Centre.

With these organisations, Danny did mainly "hands on" work in the mental health area and a lot of refugee support work and freelance work with St Vincent de Paul.

He was involved with Committee work, whilst at St Vincent de Paul, developing mental health initiatives and also involved in Conference work.

Whilst at the Gethsemane community, Danny ran a "share" house with residents that all suffered mental health problems.

Danny has been volunteering with Edmund Rice Centre for 5 years.  His initial connection was with Fr Claude Mostowik who, at that stage, was assisting ERC with its move from Homebush to Croydon.  Danny offered to help and has been with ERC ever since.  

Danny become involved in Fairtrade when he was initially asked to buy Fairtrade tea and coffee for the staff at Edmund Rice Centre.  He took an interest in its origins and was invited by the Fairtrade Association to become a member. As a consequence, he decided to sell Fairtrade products to staff and friends and this expanded to schools and other human rights organisations.  As his interest developed, he became involved in the Fairtrade Association and took on the responsibility of contacting Schools and helping to organise the Annual Fairtrade Fiesta.

The Edmund Rice Centre Fairtrade Project was set up by Danny two years' ago and is aligned with the central focus of the Edmund Rice Centre, being "Awareness, Advocacy, Action".

In his own time, Danny attends meetings, conferences, etc., to meet participants and share his passion for justice.

One of the meetings Danny became a regular visitor to has been CCJP.  He faithfully turns up every month, carries his boxes upstairs, sets up an attractive display of Fairtrade products, packs up at then end of the meeting and carries downstairs again with boxes a little lighter from the sales he makes each month with us.

Danny also prepares for each meeting the gift of Fairtrade products we use to say our thanks to our guests each month.

We name Danny Long as the recipient of the CCJP Award for 2011 for his many years of commitment to service of the least in our society and his commitment to change unjust structures.  We particularly recognize his work in promoting Fairtrade products.

2010 - Bernice Moore OAM

The 2010 CCJP award is given to Bernice Moore OAM for her long and dedicated commitment to social justice and peace ...more

Bernice's involvement began very early in her life through the influence of her parents, Stan and Nell Moore. Their home was a place where the connection between faith and social justice was understood and practised. Bernice learnt this early on through an experience she has never forgotten. When she complained that she and her sister Mary had to walk home from school during a tram strike her father said to her, "why are they on strike?" When Bern said she didn't know Stan replied "well find out why and then we'll discuss it. Until then I'm on their side!"

As a midwife Nell walked the streets around the inner west of Sydney delivering babies and helping women and their families many of whom had no means of paying her especially during the Depression years.

As a Good Samaritan Sister Bernice taught in secondary schools in Canberra, Victoria and Queensland. She used her creative and artistic gifts to introduce innovative programs for the students in her care. In particular Bernice developed alternative programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and this, long before it became accepted in mainstream education.

In 1981 Bernice was part of a committee that produced a program called the Mission and Justice Education Programme, undertaken at the request of the bishops of Australia. It was a ground-breaking programme that enabled groups of teachers and other interested groups to understand the link between mission, justice and human development in their immediate world of school, home, parish, and workplace as well as in a global context.

Bernice was part of the initial team that developed creative processes to help groups engage in the program. They travelled the length and breadth of Australia to Catholic schools and parishes, facing groups that were at times excited and welcoming of the program and others that were openly hostile. Bernice remained on the team until its demise in 1989 from lack of funding.From 1991 until 1999 Bernice accepted the role of Convenor of CCJP NSW. She guided it through some of its most vulnerable periods when finance was limited and other State and regional CCJPs dissolved.

Perhaps Bernice is best known for her role in WATAC. Indeed Bern is the real face and heart of WATAC. She was among the founding members and for some 25 years she has worked tirelessly to achieve the aims of WATAC, viz. consciousness-raising of women on Christian feminist issues. There must be tens thousands of women and men and students who have benefited from Bernice's knowledge, expertise and creative ways of presenting hard truths to Church and society. Again this has not been without pain and misunderstanding from some sections of the Church but Bernice's courage and good humour continues to raise fresh and challenging thoughts to a Church in serious need of them. Bernice also served on the Gender Commission for the National Council of Churches.

For her efforts in all these fields and particularly for her role in WATAC,   in 1997 Bernice was awarded, deservedly, the Medal of the Order of Australia.

CCJP is grateful to Bernice for her continuing support particularly through the many hours spent in producing our newsletters, Occasional Papers, Annual Report and her readiness to take up tasks of the working committee as needed.

With great pleasure we present the CCJP Award for 2010 to Bernice Moore.

2009 - Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga

Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace is delighted to present the CCJP Award for 2009 to the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga for their strong commitment to social justice over many years ...more

In response to a request from the Bishop of the time for Catholic education five Sisters arrived in Wagga from Ireland in 1874 and immediately began schools for the children of the early settlers, many of whom were poor and who had left their native oppressed land, so that they might be free to bring up their children in the Catholic faith. Before long, following the mandate of their foundress Nano Nagle to spend yourselves for the poor

they established schools in the rural areas around the Wagga district and later in the Sydney area educating, visiting and ministering to the needs of people especially those most disadvantaged.

Following the Second Vatican Council, religious orders were told to revisit their founders' original charism and recommit their ministries to the most disadvantaged in society today. The Presentation Sisters took up the Church's directive and under the guidance of successive Congregation leaders, namely Srs Angela Cameron, Cecilia Wiltshire, Anne Lane, Maureen Watson and the Sisters in their various communities, what followed was a burgeoning of ministries beyond the traditional school system. They included:

Rural ministries in response to prolonged drought; women and men's shelters; Juvenile detention centres; Junee gaol; the unique ecological centre Erin Earth;

Nagle Centre Campbelltown; Micro Loans schemes; Nagle camps for disadvantaged youth; inner city ministry to shut-ins; animation programme for Western Sydney and Central Coast; Aboriginal ministry in city and country; Homeless Youth programmes; ministries for refugees and asylum seekers.

It is clear the Sisters have taken to heart the challenge of Nano Nagle:

If I can be of service in  any part of the world I would willingly do all in my power(to respond)

As well as direct service to the poor the Sisters recognised that the causes of the disadvantage must also be addressed, through structural change to policies of political and economic systems that cause or keep people in poverty, hence their involvement in lobbying and advocacy activities on behalf of the marginalised and voiceless in our world.

At their Chapter in 2003 the Presentation Sisters made the following statement:

We are committed to making resources available to ministries with the marginalised through Congregational projects and also support groups outside the Congregation who work with and on behalf of those who are poor.

As one of many groups outside the Congregation that has received significant support from the Presentation Sisters, CCJP acknowledges with gratitude their generosity and commitment to structural change.

It is with great pleasure we present the 2009 CCJP Award to the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga.

2008 (joint award) - Alma Madden

In 2008 a CCJP is being presented to Alma Madden who has, over many years, been totally dedicated to the struggle for justice for all and to the aims and activies of CCJP. Alma is a ‘hands on’ justice and peace person and it is this commitment we honour today ...more

Alma Madden (centre)Alma Madden has lived with her husband, Phil, in Engadine for over 50 years, where they raised their seven children. She is will known within the area for her ability to quietly lend a hand wherever or whenever she sees need and has been involved in the local Catholic school from its inception, helping out as much as she could. She was involved in the very active Mother’s Club, which provided for the needs of the Sisters and the new school. She was famous for her cakes, slices and scones, which were sought after at cake stalls and fetes. At home most of her time was taken up providing for the family, but when her children were in primary school Alma would occassionally answer the call from Boys Town to invite boarding students to visit on a Sunday to allow these boys to experience family life.

Alma became involved in the Legion of Mary at one stage, as she attempted to exercise her sense of social justice in the local community. After returning to part-time work as a legal secretary in the 70’s Alma joined the Engadine Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society, including a term as President; an association continuing today as she is involved in improving many people’s lives and mentoring needy members of the community. Alma has also volunteered at the local high school in the Learning Assistance Programme, spending time with ‘at risk’ children.

Her charity and sens of justice has not been limited to the local community. She has a ‘no nonsense’ attitude to life and if something un-just is just mentioned in conversation Alma’s repsonse is usually “Well why isn’t something done about it?” then she proceeds to act by making phone calls or writing letters to the relevant people and often knocking on their door to approach them personally.

She is a great supporter of Youth off the Streets, cooking at a refuge one day a month for many years and still knitting etc to raise money for the homeless. She is also a member of ANTaR and, not just a member, she attends the meetings held within the Sutherland Shire and goes to any functions that they have.

Alma has stood up for Women’s Rights all her life. Within the parish she has tried to educate the parish priest on the need to use inclusive language and hasn’t given up! She often submits articles for the monthly church newsletter, sometimes they get published, but if they don’t she resubmits them. She leaves CCJP pampthlets and information in the foyer of the church, hoping they will help people to act, or at least think, more justly about current issues.

Alma has always been a loyal member of her church community. Always a believer in life-long education, Alma took a great interest in what children were taught in school and sought to educate herself by reading and discussing issues. Her home is always open and Engadine WATAC especially appreciates this because if another venue is not available for monthly meetings she always says “Have it at our place”. She hosts monthly Prayer and Reflection Morning, which is followed by a wonderful home made morning tea.

CCJP has benefited greatly over many years by Alma’s regular presence at our Sunday Seminars. She is always here eaerly to set up the room and arrange the morning tea, and is among the last to leave because she is clearing up all the “bits and pieces”.  Really, this is only part of her story but it is an indication of her total commitment to the work of justice and peace. Alma Madden is a ‘hands, heads and heart’ Christian and a very worthy recipient of a CCJP Justice Award in 2008.

2008 (joint award) - Margaret Hinchey RSM

During 2007 CCJP has celebrated twenty years of its justice and peace life, and for the last ten of those years Margaret Hinchey has been our energetic and efficient Convenor. In light of that, today we want to formally honour Marg's commitment which has been so significant for CCJP ...more

Margaret was probably genetically programmed to become a person deeply involved with the poor and issues of social justice because both her parents, Kathleen and Michael, each in their own way, had that same strong concern.  Kathleen was the traditional wife and mother - her way was to visit family, friends, the sick and anyone who needed comforting, giving from her own very limited means, anything she could.  Michael used his business contacts to assist unemployed, wards of the court and the disabled with job opportunities, and his political knowledge to work for justice through government.

So how could Margaret have failed to continue to work for the poor and all who are oppressed with this example before her?

Margaret entered the convent at age seventeen, and it was without doubt that it was her desire to follow the gospel ideals of justice which significantly led her to that vocation.  Coming from the 'Battler' class, she has always had a sensitive understanding of the needs of the poor, and during her time as a teacher and principal Marg has always been aware of the financial and social difficulties many families had in educating their children.  She made certain that she knew which families needed extra support, and kept school expenses to a minimum.

Later, as an education consultant for the Archdiocesan Catholic Education Office, Margaret continued her approach to social justice in the policy making area, supporting and promoting the needs of both families in the schools and the school staffs.

In the 1980s Margaret became the co-ordinator of the National Mission and Justice Education Programme, a project of the Australian Bishops' Conference.  This task she embraced wholeheartedly and carried it out extremely well.  Under Marg's enthusiastic leadership the Mission and Justice Education Team managed to dialogue with justice groups and school and parish groups all around Australia, and addressed a multitude of social justice concerns including indigenous, multicultural and issues of discrimination in all its forms.

As a modern sister, Margaret has always been well able to use the skills developed in her religious community and the support that her fellow religious sisters offer.  Importantly she has used those skills and that support to work for justice for marginalised people in the world around her. At the same time she challenges her fellow Catholics to present an image of a church following the example of Christ to engage in the world, as she does, rather than propping up an institution out of touch with the world.

Marg was a member of the inaugural Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (NSW) Social Justice Committee.  This group educates and calls to action members of Religious Congregations on issues of social justice.  It also directly lobbies parliamentarians on particular issues and speaks out on these issues on behalf of the Religious Leaders of NSW.

Australian Political Ministry (PolMin) was formed nine years ago to be an independent voice for structural change within Australian politics; Marg was a founding member of this group.  Her knowledge of the Church's teaching, her analytical mind and her ability for public speaking, in person and on radio, has been an essential element to the success of this group.

Among other groups Marg has been associated with NetAct and Beyond Bars.  Marg is also a regular speaker at Spirituality in the Pub and a long term convenor of the Parramatta WATAC group.

To all these organisations Marg has brought a passion for the poor and marginalised; particularly our indigenous sisters and brothers.  For Marg's lifelong passion and commitment to justice we thank her, and celebrate her as CCJP's longest serving Convenor.  It is our delight to present to you today this special Award Marg.

2007 - Dermot Dorgan

The 2007 CCJP Award is given to Dermot Dorgan for his dedicated commitment to justice and peace through music and poetry ...more

Dermot comes from an Irish family where the gift of writing poetry about significant family or public events began with the Celtic flair for music, wit and humour. Libel laws prevented any of it being seen outside the family.

In the mid sixties Dermot was in the Columban priesthood. While on holidays  he heard Tom Lehrer on radio singing "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". Dermot leant it, played and sang it publicly and for the first time realized he could entertain others with his music. He was sent to Rome for graduate studies in theology and Scripture and was then sent to study and teach in Ireland, Israel and Fiji.

At the end of 1973 Dermot left the priesthood and came to Australia. He worked for Australian Catholic Relief, now Caritas. In that capacity he travelled to India and south-east Asia. He began to write about the forces generating poverty; about the way the excesses of capitalism, so beneficial to many Australians, were devastating for people in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

It was at this time that Dermot met Ted Kennedy and began attending Mass at Redfern. Dermot stated that it was Ted who cracked open the Scriptures to reveal layers of meaning that he, Dermot, had never encountered despite his scriptural scholarship.

It was then that Dermot began writing songs about international debt, poverty, the environment, indigenous Australians, and  refugees, combining profound gospel insights with witty and humorous songs about society and church.

Dermot subsequently worked for the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, the Mercy Foundation, and the Social Action Office Brisbane. Currently he is the Co-ordinator of the Romero Centre in Brisbane that offers support and assistance for refugees on temporary protection visas.

In 1995 Dermot produced an album called The Cockroach and the Vatican. It included some songs that were composed for CCJP events and experiences viz, A Typical Catholic and Bishop for a Day.

Another album of songs appeared in 2000 entitled The Call of the Cappuccino followed by another featuring children's songs on the environment called The Shark, the Ark and the Wise Little Platypus.

Dermot's songs have been heard in pubs and churches, universities and kindergartens, radio and, he's ashamed to say, television, and on one memorable occasion, outside the entrance to the Vatican Bank when a Swiss Guard threatened to chop up Dermot's guitar with his halberd.

Dermot now lives in a house Brisbane with a white picket fence, a dog, a cat, twenty seven gekkoes and two children, Conor and Clare.

Dermot's songs are an in-depth yet sensitive analysis of topics crucial to the national interest and to an often too serious Church. They have entertained, amused and challenged people to see the connections between life and faith and to our contemporary crying need for a holistic spirituality of the earth and the physical universe.

We are delighted to give the 2007 CCJP  Award to Dermot Dorgan.

2006 - Anne & Bill Byrne

The 2006 CCJP Award has been given to Anne and Bill Byrne for their long and dedicated commitment to the work of justice and peace ...more

Their formal involvement began in Adelaide in the early 1960s where Bill was the secretary of the Christian Life Movement and the Archdiocesan Lay Apostolate Liaison Committee. Anne and Bill both were members of the Christian Life Movement, based on the YCW model of See, Judge, Act, which enabled them to analyse the structural causes of injustice and become involved in action to overcome them.

Adult education through the Newman Institute was another initiative of Bill's time in the Adelaide Archdiocese. They organized seminars on the documents of Vatican 11 and motivated by the call for justice to be seen as an integral part of the gospel, set up a Lenten campaign before Project Compassion began, to raise awareness of and response to the needs of the poor. Freedom from Hunger was another of Bill's involvements.  

In 1968 Anne and Bill and their family moved to Sydney when Bill was appointed Director of Australian Catholic Relief, the forerunner of Caritas, a position he held for ten years. The Vatican directed that all countries should have a justice and peace commission so the ACR Committee was appointed by the Bishops Conference to be the Commission. A National Commission for Justice and Peace was formed that eventually became the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

In 1978 Bill was appointed to the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace a position he held for four years. As a result many overseas visitors connected to justice and peace issues stayed with Anne and Bill giving them and their children, Mary, Paul, Stacey, William and Phil, a practical sense of faith in action for justice.

Over these years Anne continued her connection with the justice scene while being homemaker to their growing family and then returning to teaching. Women's involvement in public life increased as a result of the feminist movement and the Church made some move to include women in its life. In 1982 Anne was co-opted to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. The work for justice and peace done by CCJP was extraordinary and acknowledged as such by many organizations nationally and internationally.

2005 - Fr Cyril Hally

This Inaugural CCJP Award for 2005 was given to Fr Cyril Hally for his lifetime work in the area of global peace and social justice ...more

CCJP acknowledged six decades of diverse peace and social justice ministries pursued by Cyril, beginning in New Zealand, then Rome, Japan, Belgium, Australia, Asia, the Pacific, South America, and the United States. During those years, Cyril  demonstrated a unique skill in combining his academic work with his missionary, anthropological and cross-cultural involvements. He  networked as a consultor to numerous church agencies, such as Pax Christi, and countless local churches throughout the world. His work at Pro Mundi Vita between 1966-71 is especially noted .

In both his life and ministry, Cyril has become an outstanding witness to the quest for peace and justice in both the world and the church of our time.

Edna's painting

Edna Watson is a Darug elder whose paintings have been recognised in Australia and overseas. In this work, commissioned by CCJP, Edna expresses the various groups who have come to Australia with the original Aboriginal people in the centre of the circle of reconciliation. Reconciling hands point inwards and outwards. Earth colours dominate with the central circle showing a broken earth, symbolic of the current drought and the unfinished process of reconciliation.

CCJP commissioned Edna to produce the painting which is now also our logo. Each CCJP Award winner is presented with a framed print of Edna's artwork, while the original hangs in the Seminar Room at CCJP's premises.