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In 1984 Fr Tony Densley was asked by
Archbishop James Gleeson which of
three positions he wanted: running the
marriage preparation program, establishing
a spirituality centre or taking on the work
that Fr Leon Czechowicz was doing at the
Catholic Education Office.
He was given a day to decide and he went
with the education option.
Thirty two years later, Fr Densley is finally
retiring from his role as an educator. He
was coordinator of the Religious Education
Team from 1984 – 1996, program director
of the Master of Catholic Education at the
University of South Australia from 1996-
2015 and program director Graduate
Certificate Education (Catholic Education)
He has written a number of research
publications and his qualifications include:
Phd Fordham University New York 1990,
Master Religious Education Fordham,
Graduate Diploma Group Work and
Psychodramatist ANZPA 2005.
“That has been the great gift in my life
and work,” Fr Densley said of his move to
The parish priest of Pennington/Albert Park
has helped hundreds of Catholic school
teachers achieve their Graduate Certificate
and Masters in Catholic studies. Some of
his students joined other members of the
Catholic education community at a farewell
event following his decision to retire from
Fr Densley said his first experience of
Catholic education was as a boarder at
Sacred Heart College from 1957-59. He
returned to the country after Intermediate
to work on the farm for five years but a
visit to an Adelaide eye specialist resulted
in a change of plans.
Dr W G Gunston, asked him if he had
passed Intermediate and when he said
‘yes’, Dr Gunston asked why he was still
on the farm when he clearly had more
ability than that.
“Just a moment’s kindness,” Fr Densley
said, who entered the seminary at the age
of 20 and was ordained in 1972.
“I still have a profound love of the land.
The hardest decision I ever made was to
walk away from farming.
Fr Densley referred to the practical ways
Catholic faith is “incarnated” in Catholic
schools: “the ecological concern that has
become part of our way of doing things;
the great and continuing work to ensure
that children and young people treat each
other justly and as they grow appreciate
the national and international issues of
justice; the cultivation of each students’
unique abilities; and the concern to pray
and celebrate in age appropriate ways”.
“What is at the heart of Catholic
Christianity that we have to offer our young
people?” he asked.
“In the words of the prophet Micah, “To
act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly
with your God”.
One of his Masters students, Tanya Stott,
Assistant Principal Religious Identity and
Mission at St Catherine’s School Stirling,
thanked Fr Densely for the huge impact he
had on her faith and her life.
Catholic Education Director Helen O’Brien
and Adelaide Vicar General Fr Philip
Marshall also paid tribute to Fr Densley.
Fr Densley retires from academic life
By Jenny Brinkworth
FAREWELL: CESA director Helen O’Brien. Fr Densley, Fr Marshall and Denis Ralph
REMEMBRANCE DAY: St Aloysius Year 10 students, from left, Lidia Ielasi and Eloise Willsmore
gave out poppies at the Remembrance Day Mass held in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on
November 11. Other Catholic colleges taking part in the Mass were Mary MacKillop College,
Cardijn College, Kildare College and Christian Brothers College. The Last Post and Reveille
was played by Sergey Grynchuk.
Photo: Ben Macmahon
SYMBOLS OF SACRIFICE: St Joseph’s School Port Lincoln embraced
the spirit of Remembrance Day in several ways this year. Primary
students made poppies that were ‘planted’ in the front school fence
with the words ‘We Will Remember Them’ and ‘Lest We Forget’. The
school received many phone calls and visitors congratulating them
on their display, including many Returned Servicemen. Below: School
Captains Millie Russell and Jamie Doudle laid a wreath on behalf of
the school at the Port Lincoln War Memorial service which all Year
10 students also attended. The rest of the school attended a prayer
service where music coordinator Mrs Carolyn Coulson played the Last
Post and the Rouse on trumpet.
Catholic schools in South Australia will celebrate
Catholic Education Week from Friday May 13 to
Friday May 20, 2016.
The event will be held simultaneously in the
Adelaide and Port Pirie Dioceses and will
showcase Catholic Education across the state.
“Catholic schools celebrate every day, in a
special way, the talents of their teachers, children
and young people,” said Helen O’Brien, Director
of Catholic Education SA.
“Catholic Education Week will help us to share
with the broader community the many exciting
initiatives and programs for students.
“Our teachers and staff are quite wonderful.
Catholic Education Week is an opportunity to
acknowledge the privilege of supporting young
people in their learning.”
The Diocese of Port Pirie has celebrated Catholic
Education Week for a number of years.
“Catholic Education Week especially celebrates
the efforts students make with their own studies;
the assistance they give to those in need; the
simple joy they bring to one another and to the
life of the school, and the generosity and energy
they bring to fundraising for charitable causes and
supporting those less fortunate,” says Brenda
Keenan, Director of Education, Diocese of Port
“While each of our schools across the diocese
has its own identity, we all share the same
A range of celebratory events and activities are
planned to promote the distinctive mission of
Catholic schools throughout the week.
Catholic Education Week
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