Kenthurst Parish Farewells Community Builder Par Excelllence
Past and present members of the Kenthurst Parish and School Communities joined together to celebrate and honour the enormous contribution of Sr Anna Conway, rsm, who over 30 years has been Pastoral Associate, confidante, mentor, consoler, enabler, encourager, wise counsel and friend.
It was standing room only at the Eucharistic celebration and lunch at St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish in Kenthurst, in which past and present parishioners gathered, to honour and farewell Sr Anna Conway, rsm, after 30 years service.
Former Parish Priest Fr Chris Dixon joined current Parish Priest Fr Vincent Savarimuthu, and other concelebrating priests, in giving thanks to God for the humble and dedicated service of Sr Anna, since before the parish officially began. 30 years ago, Sr Anna was charged with bringing together the small parishes of Kenthurst and Dural, with a section of Castle Hill Parish, to form the new Kenthurst Parish. Focusing on the building of a community, Sr Anna contributed to the laying of a firm foundation upon which the thriving parish of today is built.
It was fitting that the Eucharistic celebration was filled with beautiful music and song, with Sr Anna having played a key part in fostering and developing a music ministry in the parish.
At the conclusion of Mass, the community to whom Sr Anna had devoted some much of her life, gave Sr Anna a sustained standing ovation. This deeply moving tribute was repeated at the end of the celebration lunch which followed Mass.
Over 400 people enjoyed a beautiful two course meal in the parish and school hall, which was prepared and provided by the members of the parish. The beauty of the table and hall decorations, the abundance of delicious home made meals and desserts, and the warm and generous hospitality offered to all presence, was a great testament to the strength of the Kenthurst community.
Representatives of various groups within the Parish and school paid tribute to Sr Anna, acknowledging her dedication, hard work, faithfulness and generosity. Many made mention of Sr Anna's ability to "enlist volunteers" to various roles within the parish. It seemed unanimous that one "Didn't/Couldn't say 'No' to Sr Anna", while acknowledging that Anna would never ask others to do what she would not do herself.
It was evident that in her 30 years of service, Anna had not only been pivotal in building the parish community from its inception, but that she was indeed one of the solid foundations upon which the thriving parish community now stands.
In reflecting on Sr Anna's contribution to the parish, one of the Parishioners added to Pope Francis' words in saying:
When we meet someone in love they teach us something about God, and Sr Anna has been our Master Teacher.