Queen's Honour recipient says street kids are his incentive

Sydney Salesian Fr Chris Riley, who heads the list of Catholics honoured in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours list announced yesterday, says he is motivated by the children he helps.

Fr Riley, who becomes a Member of the Order of Australia, was honoured for his services to disadvantaged youth through the establishment of "Youth Off The Streets" and the development of a range of programs for children and adolescents.

ABC AM reports that Fr Riley is currently in East Timor, where he's organising the distribution of rice, water and soccer balls for hundreds of orphaned children.

While the award is a welcome recognition of Fr Riley's tireless work, he says children and street kids are his only motivation.

"Someone said to me recently: 'Does this award give you motivation to do more?' And I'm saying I don't need motivation. This is my life, this is what I love doing and I think I've got the best job in the world," Fr Riley told the ABC.

"So there's no need for incentives with me. The kids are incentive enough, their smiles and just seeing you know, helping them deal with their poverty and their misery."

Fr Riley is among the 670 award recipients in the annual Queen's Birthday Honours List, which recognises Australian citizens who have distinguished themselves at home and internationally.

Two other priests also received the Medal of the Order of Australia. Fr Thomas Gregory Maloney, who is honoured for his service to the Church and to the community of Lismore as Chaplain to health and aged care.

Fr Gerald Paul Ryan of St Bridget's Parish, Greythorn, Victoria, who was recognised for his pastoral roles in parishes in Victoria, and his early contribution to the liturgical movement in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The Medal list also honours a large number of lay people, men and women, from a wide variety of backgrounds for their contributions in a broad range of activities.

Swimmer Julie McDonald was honoured for her service to the Olympic movement and to the community as a fundraiser for various charities. Madeline Halpin received her award for her contribution to the Bellingen Catholic Women's League, and Jaroslav Duma was recognised for services to the Ukrainian community. In Rockhampton, Alexander Irvine was recognised for service to the building industry and to apprenticeship schemes.

Catholic religious, particularly women religious, also featured strongly in the awards. Christian Brother Francis McCarthy received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to education. Sr Marie Slattery of Bathurst was recognised for her services to the Sisters of St Joseph while Sr Maureen Gleeson was honoured for her work with the Mercy Family Health Service in Lima, Peru. Other recipients include Sr Helen Monkivitch, Sr Pauline Staunton and Sr Patricia Wilson.

Honours list index (News.com.au 12/6/2006)
670 Australians honoured on Queen's Birthday list (AM, ABC, 12/6/2006)

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PM says no to honours changes (The Age, 13/6/2006)

13 Jun 2006