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Southern Cross | living catholic
The Southern Cross continues its Living Catholic page which features articles and photographs highlighting the many good works that often go
unnoticed but make a big difference to people’s lives and to the community in general. Parishes are invited to submit suggestions for stories
that demonstrate in a practical sense Living Catholic. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holding the hands of loved ones
contemplating organ donation following a
tragic family death, assisting patients and
their families through terminal diagnosis
and helping people say goodbye for the
last time are all part of Catherine Smith’s
Mrs Smith has been the Catholic chaplain
for the Lyell McEwin Hospital at Elizabeth
Vale since 2005.
“I started working here thinking I’ll give
it a go, and 10 years later I’m still here,”
she says. “What keeps me here are the
people. The situations are difficult to deal
with but being able to support people and
be with them and get them through a really
vulnerable time in their lives really keeps
It’s a vocation Mrs Smith says she was
destined to realise, and she recently
received recognition through the Adelaide
Archbishop’s Awards for community
“Catherine lovingly serves the sick and
the needy using prayer and empathy to
support them in their time of need,” says
the award nomination for Mrs Smith.
“While distributing the Eucharist to the
hospitalised, Catherine is an effective and
valuable support to those nearing the end
of their lives.
“She counsels families through the difficult
times of losing their loved ones...(and)
accompanies dying patients from hospital
to hospice, providing comfort and love.”
Mrs Smith was born in Clare and worked
as a public servant for several years in
Canberra where she met her husband
George. The engaged couple worked
in Papua New Guinea and returned to
Adelaide and married in 1978. After
becoming a mother to Jeremy and
Susanne, Mrs Smith spent time at St
David’s Parish School in Tea Tree Gully as
the canteen manager.
When the children were young, George
was diagnosed with cancer and given a
50-50 chance of survival.
“I prayed for my husband’s return to health
because at that stage I was thinking I
would have to bring up two children on my
George has been in remission for more
than 25 years.
“He’s a miracle,” says Mrs Smith.
A parishioner at Modbury, she joined
the local St Vincent de Paul Society
chapter and began visiting the poor and
“I came to the realisation that if I was going
to be going out and ministering to people
through Vinnies then I needed to be Christ-
like in every way and that meant in my own
She then completed the Clinical Pastoral
Education course and began volunteering,
first at Modbury Hospital and then the Lyell
McEwin. In 2005 she took on the role of
“I really believe that the Holy Spirit put
these things together, and when you look
back at your life’s journey you can see the
presence of God’s hand.”
Most Tuesdays, 84-year-old John Mahoney
spends his morning giving Holy Communion
to Catholic patients at Calvary North Adelaide
He also co-chairs the Brooklyn Park/Richmond
parish council, is the parish treasurer and a
member of the parish finance committee and
“I was brought up in a family that valued our
Catholic faith very much,” says Mr Mahoney.
He was recently recognised for his service to
community through the Archbishop’s Awards
It’s not the first time he’s been acknowledged.
In 1997 he received a papal knighthood for his
work as parish liaison officer and executive
officer of the Diocesan Presbytery Fund, which
was established to meet the financial, health and
welfare needs of diocesan priests.
For almost two decades Mr Mahoney spent
many hours visiting parishes across the Adelaide
diocese to help them with auditing, book keeping
and accounting – a huge help in the transition to
He says he has witnessed many changes from
the days of the handwritten Kalamazoo system
for parish cashbooks.
Mr Mahoney was involved in assisting
Archbishop James Gleeson and Chancellor
Father Kevin McLennan in setting up the
Archdiocesan Development Fund in 1978 (now
the Catholic Development Fund).
Mr Mahoney retired from Church Office in
1997 and last May decided to answer a call for
pastoral volunteers at Calvary North Adelaide
His decision to help out came after recalling a
sense of great relief at being able to receive Holy
Communion while unexpectedly hospitalised with
chest pains during a holiday to Victoria some
“I’ve been on the other side of the hospital bed,
so I know what it’s like and this is a privilege to
do,” he said.
RECOGNISED: Brooklyn Park/Richmond parishioner John Mahoney
last month at the Mary Potter Hospice Chapel in the Calvary North
Adelaide Hospital where he is a pastoral volunteer.
John still happy to serve
Faith leads Catherine to the sick
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
has been helping
the sick and
injured for the
past 10 years.
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