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Br Anthony Boyd and Sr Mary Comer RSJ (Supplied)

From music to social work, building up parishes and religious life, sustaining charitable organisations, healthcare and industry, Catholics are among those named in this year’s Australia Day honours list. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

They include Peter Ciani, who moved to Sydney from Sicily after falling in love with the country on a visit to his sister here decades ago. He was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to music.

Mr Ciani supported the late Capuchin Fr Atanasio Gonelli, co-founder of the Italian Association of Assistance (Co.As.It), when the Sydney-based friar, who is regarded by many as a saint, established a charitable fund for the needy.

“An award like this is something I never thought about, I don’t really know what to say. Music has been my life and I think it is one of the best things in life. It inspires you, it feeds your soul and your heart. I’ve written many songs about Australia, this country has inspired me.”

Sr Mary Comer RSJ received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community, including in her role as the founding director of Centacare Bathurst and a former leader of her congregation.

Marist Brother Anthony Boyd received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to secondary education as deputy principal, teacher and rugby union coach at St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill for more than 20 years.

Glenn Roff received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education. The Canberra Catholic was the first lay principal of St John’s College, Woodlawn, a principal of St Mary’s Primary School in Toowoomba and the director of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Cairns, from 1997-2000.

Margaret Cunningham was named a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through charitable organisations, particularly St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney through a foundation she co-established to support mental health, cardiology, urology, neurosciences, hospital equipment and regional health initiatives.

For full details of Australia Day honours, visit


Catholics honoured on Australia Day 2023 (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)