Notre Dame Sydney chaplain awarded doctorate

Dominican Fr John Neill, the new parish priest at St Benedict's in Sydney's Chippendale and chaplain at Notre Dame Sydney, on Sunday received an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame for his contribution to Australian Catholic education.

According to a statement from Notre Dame University, Fr Neill, a Foundation Trustee and Governor of the University, was honoured for his lifetime of loyalty, service and passionate commitment to the Church, the Dominican Order and to Catholic education at all levels in Australia.

Fr Neill joined the Dominicans in 1955. Over his lifetime he became one of the leading figures in Catholic education in Australia. He was made Chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, a Member of the Standing Committee of the Headmasters' Conference of Australia, and a Member of the National Catholic Education Commission.

In 1986 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Education and, in 1988, after a health "scare," he retired.

In his retirement he joined the working group who had begun planning for the new Catholic university in Western Australia which was to become Notre Dame University.

"I knew Fr John to be a man of passion and great ability, a diplomat, a peacemaker and an advocate, ideal for the initial role of Director of the Planning Office of the proposed new university," said Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Tannock.

"Fr John has had a profound influence on the establishment, development and enculturation of The University of Notre Dame Australia. He is truly one of our Founding Fathers."

At the ceremony Sydney's Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher read a letter of congratulations from the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

"He is a loyal son of St Dominic, a fine priest and a much loved and respected Chaplain. He is also a man who has made a quite extraordinary contribution to Catholic education in this country," wrote Cardinal Pell.

Notre Dame honours a significant contribution to Australian Catholic Education (Notre Dame Australia 17/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
University of Notre Dame Australia
Australian Dominicans

Work begins on Sydney Notre Dame campus (CathNews 6/6/05)
Notre Dame welcomes Federal support for Sydney campus (CathNews 2/8/04)

18 Jul 2006