Colleen Petricevich’s many years of service to her parish, her community and Auckland Diocese were honoured with the presentation of the papal Benemerenti Medal last month.
Msgr David Tonks presented Mrs Petricevich with the award at a Mass at St Joseph’s Church, Takapuna on August 21.
Before he pinned the medal on her lapel, Msgr Tonks said that, “in presenting the award today, we want to acknowledge the fact that Colleen has made a contribution to community life and to the Church in a huge variety of ways”.
“We are delighted today to pass on to you the award from the Holy Father.”
In the parish, where she had lived and worked for some 50 years, Mrs Petricevich edited and produced the monthly parish magazine, worked with the Society of St Vincent de Paul (for some years as president, locally), taught CCD, was involved with the Catholic Credit Union, and worked in the parish office for 10 years as accounts officer.
She also served in the Catholic Women’s League, being president of the Takapuna branch for some time, and was Auckland CWL diocesan council from 2018 to 2021, as well as editing and producing the CWL’s diocesan newsletter for some years.
Mrs Petricevich also gave of her time to assist Pregnancy Help, the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Girl Guiding New Zealand and two local sailing clubs.
She made two trips to the Solomon Islands to set up a library at Holy Name Seminary and she did the accounts for the Marist Education Trust, Pregnancy Help, and the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society from her home.
As a Hibernian, she served the St Peter Chanel branch as secretary and treasurer. She also served as a national board member, and has been a long-time supporter of the society, for many years with her late husband, Mike.
In brief words of thanks after the medal presentation, Mrs Petricevich paid tribute to the Hibernians, saying that the society had helped her family too.
“Mike and I had our first mortgage through the Hibernians, and we [the Hibernians] have helped numerous people in all sorts of ways,” she said.
“It is still going, we have just had an AGM in Wellington, so hopefully the Hibernians will keep on helping.”
Many friends and family were at the Mass to see Mrs Petricevich receive her award.
“Thank you all very much, for coming to share this with me,” she said.
Photo: Msgr David Tonks (left), Leo Neal (Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society) and Colleen Petricevich share a joke during the award presentation