The 2016 Census of Population and Housing has recorded that Australians are upskilling like never before, with 56 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over – 9.6 million people – now holding a post-school qualification, up from 46 per cent in 2006.
Census Program Manager, Bindi Kindermann said attaining a university qualification remains an achievement Australians strive for, with close to one quarter (24 per cent) of youths and adults in the 2016 Census having completed a Bachelor Degree or above, up from 18 per cent a decade ago.
“The Census has also revealed that those who go on to study at university aren’t necessarily stopping with just a Bachelor Degree, with more people than ever achieving Postgraduate qualifications,” Ms Kindermann said.
“The number of people with Postgraduate Degree qualifications increased from 631,000 in 2011 to 921,000 in 2016, a jump of 46 per cent. The past five years have also seen significant increases in the number of people with Graduate Diplomas or Graduate Certificates as their highest level of qualification (27 per cent). Almost 10 per cent of Australia’s youth and adults had attained an Advanced Diploma or Diploma, while just under 21 per cent had completed a Certificate level qualification.”
Geographically speaking, 2016 represented the first time that the Census reported more than half the population aged 15 and over in each state and territory has held a post-school qualification, with the Australian Capital Territory leading the way with the highest proportion of qualified people (65 per cent). Tasmania had the lowest proportion with 51 per cent.
Residents of Australia's capital cities (30 per cent) were almost twice as likely as residents in regional areas (16 per cent) to hold a Bachelor Degree or higher qualification, while people in capital cities were also more than 2.5 times as likely to hold a Postgraduate Degree level qualification (7.0 per cent in capital cities vs 2.7 per cent outside). However, 23 per cent of people in regional areas hold a Certificate III & IV level qualification, compared to just 16 per cent of people in capital cities.
The Census also showed that the gap in educational attainment between men and women has narrowed over the past 10 years. In 2006, 51 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women reported holding a post-school qualification; in 2016 this gap was smaller, with 58 per cent for men and 54 per cent for women.
However, there are still some noticeable gender differences in the professions of our educated workforce. The most common occupations in 2016 for men with a Bachelor Degree or above were Accountants and Software Applications Programmers, whereas women were more likely to be Registered Nurses or Primary School Teachers.
Management and Commerce remained the most popular field of study across Australia (2.1 million people, an increase of 23 per cent since 2011) ahead of Engineering and Related Technologies (1.7 million people, an increase of 11 per cent).
Encompassing fields of study including Political Science, Law and Economics, the Society and Culture field was the fastest growing area of study, seeing growth of 29 per cent since the 2011 Census.
The latest release of 2016 Census data marked an important time for the ABS and Australia,” Ms Kindermann said.
“2016 Census data released earlier this year has already provided excellent insight into who we are, how we live, what we do and where we’re headed.
“The latest Census release shows how and where we work, as well as important information relating to internal migration, education and method of travel to work.
“This data will prove to be an incredibly valuable resource for Australia moving forward over the next five years and beyond.”
Census data is available free online. Use one of our easy tools such as QuickStats or Community Profiles to access the latest data for your area or topic of interest.
For more information on Australia’s education and workforce population, see the Workforce Australia Data Summary Sheet.
Note: In this media release, the term 'post-school qualifications' is used to refer to non-school qualifications. These are qualifications awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Examples of non-school qualifications include Bachelor Degree, Diploma and Certificate Level IV. Some non-school qualifications may be attained by school students.
As the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women approaches on 25 November, it’s more important than ever to reflect on what adults can do to help stop violence – before it even starts.
Bosco Chang, Executive Support Officer, Community Relations, Events and Projects of Chinese Australian Services Society is joining community advocates around the country in urging parents, carers and other influential adults to think about what young people learn from their words and actions, and take small steps to help break the cycle of violence against women. Their message is simple: Respect starts with us.
“As influencers of young people, whether we’re parents, family members, teachers, coaches, employers or role models, what we say, do and how we act in front of young people does have an impact,” says Bosco.
“If we ignore, downplay or excuse disrespectful behaviour, we are teaching our young people that it is ok. This is dangerous, because we now know that violence against women starts with disrespect.”
The campaign calls on adults to reflect on their own attitudes, and consciously make an effort to discuss respect with the young people in their lives.
“We can all take a moment to reflect on our own attitudes and actions – have we ever played down or excused disrespectful behaviour, by saying things like ‘he just did it because he likes you’, or ‘he’s just being a boy’? When was the last time we spoke to our children about respect? If we stop and reflect on our own attitudes, and then start a conversation with young people about respect, we can help prevent violence from happening later,” Bosco said.
To support adults there are Filipino resources to use as a guide, and help start the conversation about respect with young people.
The resources are free and can be downloaded at www.respect.gov.au/campaign/CALD-materials/
• Respecting women and girls (Conversation Guide) - to help parents and family members talk with young people about the importance of respectful relationships from an early age.
• Poster, brochure, infographic and animation – complete with more information about the issue and the campaign.
For more information, such as the research, background information, frequently asked questions and more about the issue, please visit www.respect.gov.au
For further information, please contact:
Phone: 02 9568 8307
Highlighting NSW capabilities and strengthening cultural links will be the priority when Premier Gladys Berejiklian makes her first visit to the Philippines from 6-7 December 2017.
Ms Berejiklian announced that she would meet with the Government of the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila to discuss cooperation and collaboration across trade, infrastructure and education.
“NSW has long held close ties with the Philippines and this visit will further strengthen our trade, cultural and education links – as well as showcase the capability of our professional organisations to deliver services and infrastructure projects for the ADB,” said Ms Berejiklian.
“I look forward to building on NSW’s strong friendship with the Philippines through meetings with important Filipino business and community leaders.”
With both the Philippines and NSW economies growing strongly, there are increasing opportunities for business partnerships.
International students from ASEAN are the second-largest cohort of international students in NSW, with some 5000 enrolments of Filipino students in NSW in 2016.
The Premier’s visit to the Philippines will take place as part of a four-day trade mission to Asia
I know whereof I speak
Beginning this issue, I am reviving my old PCHN column that ran from mid- to late 90’s – previously called “Light from Mars” the selfsame column I have been identified with since I began column writing as college editor –in-chief for an unduplicated length of 3 straight years of the Philippine Normal University-National Centre for Teacher Education where I graduated a bachelors degree in English and Journalism was my initial preparation.
From Uni, I hit the ground running doing the ABC’s of professional ‘Fourth Estate’ work in Metro Manila beginning from rookie news reporter to becoming a full-pledged columnist-cum-theatre and film/critic to arts/entertainment/lifestyle and features editor to managing editor of top national broadsheets, local tabloids, magazines and periodicals.
Although my career in Manila peaked largely in the performing arts where I harvested my national awards, my real grounding is in the fundamentals of press work, i.e., as a newspaperman or “dyarista” as we say in Filipino idiom. In other words, I am an honest-to-goodness journalist-writer of some qualification and distinction and not just someone who loves to write. There is a world of a difference.
Hindi po ako pawitwit na manunulat na pinabili lang ng suka, wiki nga, nagsulat na.
Ergo, I know whereof I speak, but do forgive me for prefacing this initial salvo with a bit of my relevant background because my first hurdle here is to stand my ground against the misguided, baseless and preposterous miscalculations of some people reacting to my three-in-a series of news reportage bannered by PCHN , not to speak of a controversial editorial and poetry – all on the very subject of “UNIFICATION” – a passionately inspired and concerted movement almost single-handedly spearheaded by Evelyn Zaragoza, the tireless publisher of this oldest surviving and largest circulating Filipino printed community newspaper with matching online version both valued and read throughout Australia.
In more ways than one, I have volunteered to be EZ’s creative partner, sidekick in light banter, or a Sancho Panza to a Don Quixote of you like literary parlance. Having rejoined her pool of writers after more than a decade of inactivity and semi-retirement, I suggested to EZ to tie-up the concept of “unification” as the underlying theme of the 23rd anniversary of PCHN.
EZ and MARS Creative Partnership: This is where it all caught fire and picked up steam.
Together we began exchanging and percolating ideas , pursuing what EZ has earlier began as two exploratory brainstorming sessions with selected “movers and shakers” of the community attached or associated with PCC and/or APCO. Opening Pandora’s Box after seven years brought forth differing opinions expectedly but the one common denominator was the deeply felt and expressed need to unify which egged her to forge ahead. This need t be emphasized because the provocation came from fellow “kababayan” but the impetus or driving force was positively engendered by the opposing leaders themselves, otherwise, EZ would not have deliberately if enduringly plodded along
But the continuing state of resentful antagonism between two parties (PCC and APCO) has been raging for seven years and something needed to be done NOW before things spin out of control and all hell breaks loose. To test the waters, EZ disseminated an email questionnaire asking people to share their thoughts on the notion of “one voice.” The number of responses from who’s who in the community far exceeded our expectations.
Thus, UNIFICATION banner headline number 1 came out in the June-July issue just in time when PCHN turned 23. We published not all but as many of the email responses at the same time as I began sifting through all the ideas and distilling their essences and synthesizing them into three possible options of conflict resolution: status quo, reconciliation, or dissolution. Given the resounding imprimatur from a cross section of personages in the community, we further conceptualised and sallied forth organising the twin-bill of fora in which to present the 3 golden suggestions for further discussion, if at all – resolution. Lo and behold, EZ coordinated with PCC first and they gamely complied following their general assembly meet at Marayong Community Centre in 20 August.
Afterwards, came UNIFICATION GATHERS STEAM banner headline number 2 featured in the August-September issue which highlighted more fervid expressions, this time, from outspoken PCC former Presidents the likes of Kate Andres, Malynne Chun, Ric de Vera, and Jun Relunia among others with transcripts of messages and other verbal inputs incorporated in my 2nd news report.
Banner headline number 3, which came out in the October issue was entitled UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO with a matching editorial also by yours truly titled, PCC and APCO RECONCILE, AT LONG LAST. Both drew a lot of flak and negative feedbacks.
Unfortunately I missed such historic meet that fateful day of 22 October 201 as I had been hospitalized. But we proceeded with aplomb, as if nothing had happened. Evelyn supplied me with all the materials I needed to write the news. But even before that, I couldn’t help myself hearing what’s what so that I had already phoned my good friend and former high school classmate Francisco de los Santos, plus the host himself, the ever-reliable Manny Roux of Leon Aguila group who donated a thousand dollars to pay for the merienda that day.
Initially, they had briefed me, blow by blow on the flow of dialoguing amongst an amazing array of personalities that took one Evelyn Zaragoza to gather under one roof, Certainly no mean feat, this! Of course the venue available could only accommodate 60 PAX so much so that Miss Benjie de Ubago, the self-anointed chronicler of both PCC history and happenstance, cried foul for having been “simply not advised” or “disinvited”. She wasn’t literally present at the event either but that didn’t stop a true journalist that she is from filing a report. See the point Madame Serna? Since you have propped yourself up as a broadcaster it would be wise to learn some ethical practice and professional cordiality amongst your fellow colleagues, the same way Ms. Ubago observes hers de rigueur, so that in the final analysis, she merely freely expressed her opinions without having to castrate her fellow writer. Respetuhan lang. We can agree to disagree on the level of ideas and opinions pero walang bastusan, which brings me to the case of APCO.
Charlatanism and Philistinism Amongst My Critics: (Sagot sa mga Bumabatikos
As to the other points questioned by Ms. Serna, I find them too naive and puerile to dignify. EZ’s response will suffice. “If you're worried about the title of his editorial, "PCC and APCO reconcile at long last!” can you not think of it as POSITIVE and forward looking?
Can you not feel a positive vibration with that title? Anyway, if you read carefully the content of the news it explains that a meeting is being organized by Consul Marford for 'PCC & APCO officers to meet re: reconciliation and PID.”
Quite the contrary, APCO’s supposed press statement attacked us hook, line and sinker. This is a classic case of argumentum ad populum (go ahead Google that). In hindsight however, this is the kind of positioning that could only be reduced to mere charlatanism or at best philistinism amongst our attackers.
The Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc. a federation of several autonomous, socially conscious and democratic Filipino-Australian community organisations in NSW in a special meeting of the Board held last Saturday, 18thNovember 2017, has agreed to publicly denounce the highly misleading, grossly subjective and untruthful reporting being disseminated by the proponents of so-called “Unification” in a newspaper owned and staffed by “Unification” proponents who are also closely involved with PCC. Previously, APCO Inc. has not made any official stand on the issue of “unification” and those who attended any meeting have declared beforehand that they were not representing APCO in any capacity.
APCO is not in agreement with the proponents for “Unification” in many aspects; hence, the glowing reports about the “Unification” are fake, dishonest and fabricated news. We also denounce the writers for their fictitious, false and malicious reporting about the community: that the organisations lack government support because it is not united, that PCC is doing community development projects while APCO is into multiculturalism and serving only its members.
Why tell lies if your intentions are really good?
It is well known that APCO has been actively participating and effectively representing the community to the mainstream, multicultural and government bodies, supporting and developing its affiliate members, promoting and serving the community through coop housing, welfare for the youth, children and elderly, quality cultural presentations, organisational capacity building, charities, various community welfare services and effective engagements with the mainstream Australian, CALD and Filipino community. In contrast, we do not see anything that the ageing PCC did re community development. Compare the evidences, read the credible newspapers, see the community projects and look at the meritorious achievements and performance-based awards!
APCO is instead suggesting that the process of Unification should start with a Reconciliation
The issues surrounding the supposed PCC-NSW AGM in 2010 that disenfranchised many members from voting should be discussed and resolved so that what caused the continuing rift will not be repeated and hopefully, trust and unity will bless the community.
The history of this contentious issue is: closely prior to the scheduled PCC Annual General Meeting and Elections, several dozens of regular and financial members were not allowed to vote by a committee headed by Elsa Collado, a candidate for president. The aggrieved organisations were denied the right of appeal by the Board headed by Ronaldo Villaver. There was no general membership meeting held, no attendance taken, no annual financial report submitted, and no balloting took place - but Elsa Collado and company were declared winners by the Returning Officer, Manny Diel amidst the grievances due to the above-mentioned anomalies.
Therefore, because of the irresponsible, shameless and self-serving lies circulated re alleged success of “Unification”, the APCO Board unanimously decided that it will hold a Referendum among the general membership on the issue of “Unification” only after the Reconciliation process is concluded.
President APCO Inc.
The Unification Movement initiated by PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza since June 2017 has been making inroads into our community life, thus .enhancing the social fabric.
Enhancing the social fabric, means allowing for more and better healthy interactions and expression of shared values, creating deeper sense of awareness and understanding, as well as developing a more critical outlook through logical thinking, rational analysis, as well as investigative accountability of the officials of the various organizations to which we belong.
The end goal of unification is for all members of the community to sustain pro-active, action-driven engagement, ready and willing to help one another especially those with special needs at all times, and be inspired to keep our community a positive, pleasant place to live.
Thus far, there has been two no-holds-barred Unification Discussion Meetings held at the Marayong Community Centre in 20th August and at the Sizzling Filo Restaurant in 22nd October, a complete reportage of which were bannered on this paper.
VOLLEY OF COMPLAINTS
As is the nature of the freedom of expression, we welcome the fact that the very headlines alone of the October issue banner news (UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO) along with its matching editorial (PCC AND APCO RECONCILE AT LONG LAST) had launched a volley of complaints.
As well, we are heartened that criticisms are manifold, that is, met with widespread acclaim and praise by some, yet drew enormous negative attention from both camps of PCC and APCO.
However, when passions run high enough, it is understandable that some readers make a litmus test of our reports then make rush conclusions. Too often in the process, they get carried away by their emotions ignoring the actual substance of the news report.
What we're saying is, the accusations levied on us remain on the level of “allegations”, couched in general, motherhood statements without pinpointing specifics. Where have we gone wrong, pray tell?
The general practice when anyone corrects a supposed mistake in anything published is to underline and quote the error, then suggest or offer to rectify it with the appropriately acceptable correction. If we are wrong, certainly we shall be first to publish an erratum. .
None of that appears on both emailed personal response of PCC President as well as that of the official statement of APCO that have been heaped upon on our Unification efforts.
The publisher of this paper and its editor still await concrete and definitive position statements from PCC and APCO even as we look forward to the results of each groups’ further meetings where the most contentious issue of “RECONCILIATION” shall be tackled hopefully in depth and in length.
Meanwhile, we invite readers to have a closer read of the editorial page where much of the “allegations” are addressed.
PCC & APCO MEET AGAIN: TO RECONCILE or NOT AT ALL
Without waving our own flag, fact is, the first three-in-a-series of continuing reportage on the development of the Unification Movement has created quite a stir, enough to get people involved and continuously discussing the crying issues of the day as in the two Unification Discussion/Community Consultation Meetings we have so far conducted.
What is more, the two peak/umbrella groups framed at the centre of the controversy of whether to reconcile or not at all, have now taken notice. The initial fruitful discussions have paved the way towards more argumentations.
As of press time, we are informed that past prexy Kate Andres has taken the cudgels to call for another meeting that will once and for all settle the issue of reconciliation on the side of PCC.
As for APCO, even if an official press release has been issued, we gathered that affiliates who have not been thoroughly informed and appraised of the situation are demanding a consensus that the body agreed to resolve via a referendum.
BROUGHT TO FRUITION
All these developments are positive proof that the original intent of the Unification Movement initiator/convenor Evelyn Zaragoza has been brought to fruition.
To wit: The main objective is to open all communication lines and attract a consensus of opinions from all sectors and members of the Filipino-Australian community as well a fellow Australians that shall serve as springboard for more concerted and definitive actions. (Unification, PCHN Turns 23, June-July issue).
True enough, Unification raised a flood of questions, and it is only a matter of time for these questions to be answered. Surely, it always takes two to tango, but if PCC and APCO simply couldn’t just get along, then we’ll leave it at that.
But let us stop pointing accusing fingers at each other. Do not crucify us for attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable. At least we tried. But it doesn’t end there because of the promise of the Task Force Unification.
When all is said and done, “Unification” is not a fizzer. It has motivated, driven, and caused our community to react responsibly, thereby showing the true picture and state of affairs.
CONGEN MARFORD TEXT MESSAGE
As of this writing, the Consulate has confirmed that the reconciliation meeting between the two presidents only that Consul Marford Angeles proposed to undertake during the Oct. 22 meeting as duly recorded in the minutes, has not materialised for one reason or another. Meantime, Consul Angeles sent us the following text:
(Evelyn please insert in full.)
(All Rights Reserved/Mars Cavestany)
As of press time, the issue of “reconciliation” between PCC and APCO that was agreed to be arranged by Consul Marford Angeles of the Philippine Consulate has not materialised.
Outgoing Consul Angeles originally set the meeting in his office last 19th November only between Serna Ladia and Pet Storey, PCC and APCO presidents respectively; but he had to cancel it because “something came up.”
To clarify what happens now since the meeting tentatively rescheduled on 29th November did not push through as we found out from the Consulate’s Cultural Officer Rachel Calisin, we sent a follow up email clarifying Consul Angeles’ position to which he texted back and reprinted here in full:
“Thanks as I only got now by email Marz’ message and request for clarification. I am currently waiting for word from Manila if I am to be extended instead of departing this Thursday (30th November 2017). So it’s a bit of a nail-biting time for me, on my birthday, which also happens to be the day I need to pack my things given that I need to move out of my apartment on the 29th. But you’re right, there needs to be closure. Will see if I can set a meeting for the 29th. If I am to go, Manny (new Consul Manny Guzman) should be able to take over the matter with you guys. Salamat for the heads up.”
VOLLEY OF COMPLAINTS
In the meantime, the October issue banner news (UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO) along with its matching editorial (PCC AND APCO RECONCILE AT LONG LAST) had launched a volley of complaints from both camps.
The first email “personal” response came from PCC President Serna Ladia dated Nov. 11.
Soon to follow was, the official press release sent by APCO dated 20th November sent to all channels and signed by its President Pat Storey.
Not to be left behind, PCC eventually issued a media release entitled “PCC NSW Statement on Unification” last 21st November citing Ms. Ladia as contact person for further information. .
Criticisms are manifold --met with widespread acclaim and praise by some, but drew enormous negative attention from both camps which has been duly responded to by this writer in an editorialised opinion. (See page 2)
As we go to the press, we gathered that PCC and APCO are consolidating its forces and conducting internal meetings.
(All Rights Reserved/Mars Cavestany)
FR RENATO PARAS golden jubilee celebration was celebrated with a mass held at the St. Aidan’s Rooty Hill on Sunday, 26 Nov. 2017.
His legacy to Filipino-Australians is no doubt massive so much so that in the lead-up to his 50th anniversary sacerdotal ordination of Rev Fr Renato Paras, it is but proper and fitting that we contemplate his legacy and offer congratulations and thanks to him for a life of witnessing and service to Filipino Chaplaincy.
The Australian legacy of Fr Renato Paras began with his arrival in Sydney in November 1980, having been assigned by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries here for pastoral work among the growing population of Filipinos in New South Wales. A momentous event was the holding of the first ever Filipino mass in Australia on 1 January 1981 at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Marayong. Fr Renato Paras thus marked his assignment as the first Filipino Chaplain in the history of Filipino migration in Australia. The Filipino Chaplaincy in Sydney was officially established in February 1981 when Cardinal James Freeman, then Archbishop of Sydney, certified Fr Renato Paras SVD as Chaplain of the Filipino community in New South Wales. The continued migration of Filipinos to Australia saw growing communities not just in Blacktown but also other areas in Western Sydney, in Sydney and in NSW.
The early history of the Filipino Chaplaincy is closely intertwined with that of the Filipino Catholic Organization of Sydney or FILCOS as it came to be popularly known. In early 1981, FILCOS was formed, largely due to the initiative of Fr Paras, who had a vision of a Filipino organisation that will promote strong Christian values and spiritual uplift among Filipino migrants in Sydney. He gathered a group of Filipinos from different areas and spelt out his vision. This meeting resulted in the election of the first set of FILCOS officers with Ampy Natividad elected as its first president. Four were designated vice-presidents representing the areas where they lived, namely Reming Biala (Blacktown), Roger Angara (Fairfield), Manny Villon (Kirribilli) and Tony Chiapoco (Marrickville). They in effect were the presidents of their respective chapters. The other officers were Mely Siasat, Secretary; Boy Suarez, Treasurer; Vivian Martinez, Auditor; and Oscar Landicho, P.R.O. Fr Paras was spiritual adviser. FILCOS chapters in Bankstown, Blacktown, Fairfield, North Shore area and Parramatta were established and continued to flourish during the 80s and 90s. In Blacktown, the establishment and growth of FILCOS occurred in relation to the Family Rosary Crusade led mainly by the late Bro. Joe “Tatang” Gonzales where the image of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Filipino households in rotation for the recitation of the Holy Rosary starting in 1981. A brainstorming session held by Fr Paras, Bro. Joe and Bob Mendoza saw the need for a structure that would promote spiritual and social interaction among Filipino Christian families who were mostly new arrivals in this country within the framework of the Family Rosary Crusade.
FILCOS was the backbone for the administration and operation of the Filipino Chaplaincy until it came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Parramatta. Filipino Multi-Purpose Centre Now Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre The Filipino Catholic Organisations of Sydney initiated the idea of a Multi-Purpose Centre for the Filipino community and Fr Renato Paras has to get a lot of credit for that vision. The vision and the plan were born and nurtured over the years from as early as 1981 when FILCOS and its original chapters were established. The Philippine - Australian Community Foundation, Inc. was formed as trustee for the MPC in 1990 with Fr Renato Paras as settlor. April 9th 1994 The Multipurpose Centre on Duke Street, Rooty Hill became a reality when Stage 1 was completed in time for its blessing to be held during the FILCOS Blacktown fiesta on 26th March 1995. In 2008 MPC Rooty Hill was subsequently sold and a much larger property in Schofields purchased. Renamed the Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre, this was sold in 2015 paving the way for the purchase of a fully-paid property at 50 Forge Street, Blacktown. Fr Renato remains a staunch supporter of the cultural centre project, proud of his role in its establishment and continuing history. He is still spiritual adviser of the Philippine-Australian Community Foundation Inc. Diocese of Parramatta Fr Renato had been the spiritual adviser, the guiding hand, the father of the community, until a career change in 1993 saw him resign from the Filipino Chaplaincy to be incardinated into the Diocese of Parramatta.
His first appointment as a Diocesan priest was as assistant parish priest in Christ the King Parish in North Rocks. In 1996, Fr Renato was appointed parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Springwood and then in 1998 as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish in Rooty Hill where he served for two terms or 13 years. During this time, Fr Renato established a Eucharistic Youth group with the aim of bringing young people closer to God through seminars and retreats. He offered scholarships in piano, guitar and drums to parishioners as well as non-parishioners. He also worked to improve the commitment of volunteers teaching catechism in state schools. In his busy work of providing pastoral care for a huge parish,
Fr Renato’s crowning achievement was the construction of the MacKillop Hall to serve the parish need for meeting, workshop and social space. In October 2011 Fr Renato retired as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish. Fr Renato’s 30 years of providing pastoral care in Sydney was celebrated by the Filipino community through a theatrical presentation entitled Para Sayo, Amax created by Bob and Belen Mendoza as well as a number of mass celebrations and farewell parties. Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, then Bishop of Parramatta said that Fr Renato should be acknowledged for his ministry not only to the Filipino community but also to the parishes he had served in the Diocese. On 30 October 2011 Bishop Fisher presided at a Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The legacy of Fr Renato was recently recognised when he along with 19 individuals and two organisations were honoured during the celebration of Philippine Australia Friendship Day and National Heritage Month in May 2017 at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, ACT. The 70th Anniversary Awards were presented to individuals who have contributed to the enhancement of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia.
Fr Renato was cited for his contribution in community service through his pioneering role in the Filipino Chaplaincy. Fr Renato’s legacy will be ingrained in the minds and hearts of Filipinos in Sydney for a long time. Fr Renato wishes to be remembered for his legacy of service and witnessing. Service to him is service to the Lord through service to people. Witnessing is living his life in union with Jesus Christ proclaiming God’s word and leading people to believe that God is real.
Thank you Fr Renato, you have brought hope, joy and healing into the lives of so many people and in return may you be blessed with deep happiness and a sense of peace in the years to come.