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CBC November 2021 Luncheon

Date: Thursday 4 November, 2021
Time: 11:45am–2:30pm
Venue: City Beach Function Room Wollongong*
Speaker: Sr Mary Leahy RSJ and Chaplain John Kewa
Topic: The other essential workers
Dress: Business attire
RSVP: Wednesday 27 October

Please note, to proceed, this event will need to have a minimum of 35 guests in attendance, so it would be appreciated if you could please submit your RSVP and purchase any guest tickets as soon as possible, thank you.

* COVID-19 Guidelines & Restrictions as at 18 October 2021

City Beach Functions and Events NSW Health states the following guidelines for functions and events as of the 18 October 2021:

  • Exclude staff and attendees who are unwell from the premises.
  • Guests must scan in and present COVID vaccination passport at entry.
  • All guests must be fully vaccinated.
  • Capacity must not exceed one person per 4 square metres of space (excluding City Beach staff & suppliers).
  • Masks must be worn by guests indoors, except whilst consuming food and beverage.
  • Practice social distancing where possible, including when queuing at entry and at the bar.

Bishop Brian has invited Sr Mary Leahy RSJ OAM Port Chaplain to Mission to Seafarers Australia at Port Botany and Chaplain John Kewa, Manager of the Mission to Seafarers at Port Kembla as our guest speakers. If Mary sounds familiar, she presented at our CBC Zoom catch-up in August and, by popular demand, Bishop Brian has invited her to attend our next luncheon in person.

Members and guests are welcome.

Purchase guest tickets

If you require assistance submitting your RSVP, or have questions, please contact Debbie Gates on (02) 4222 2446 or email [email protected]

City Beach Function Room Wollongong
Contact Person
Debbie Gates
Street Address
1 Marine Drive, Wollongong
(02) 4222 2446

Special Guests

Sr Mary Leahy RSJ OAM

Whether it is a seafarer not being fed, paid or being ill-treated, Sr Mary Leahy is always there to champion those seafarers without a voice.

The Josephite nun is also the first they call on if unable to contact loved ones after a death in the family or just desperately lonely and homesick after spending months on end at sea.

“Being able to help these people every day is a privilege, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. They are always in danger, in isolation and generally forgotten by society, yet they carry 98% of world trade.”

After her profession as a Sister of St Joseph, she worked at St Vincent’s Hospital as a nurse, until she was appointment as a Port Chaplain in 1992.

Today, Sr Mary is the Regional Coordinator for Oceania for the Stella Maris. Awarded an Order of Australia Medal in January 2018, in recognition for her 20 year service with the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea, she is very content with her calling despite the often-rough waters.

“Over the past 20 years, I think I’ve seen it all, nothing surprises me anymore which is probably why I’m so trusted by them” says Sr Mary.


John Kewa

As manager and chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers Port Kembla, John undertook an outstanding pastoral and humanitarian effort in connecting with and providing care packages for the 1,200 strong crew stranded on the docked Ruby Princess in Port Kembla following a COVID-19 outbreak on the vessel in April last year.

After rallying the support of the Wollongong and Illawarra community, John and his team delivered 13 pallets of care packages and hundreds of letters of support from local school children to a grateful crew. Few will forget the unfurling of a large banner saying ‘Thank You Illawarra’ when the Ruby Princess finally sailed out of Port Kembla.

In announcing John as Wollongong’s Citizen of the Year for 2021, Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said, “John is a worthy recipient of this award. He is incredibly community minded and well respected for his significant contributions to seafarer welfare. During a year overawed by the pandemic, John was a beacon of hope and a fantastic ambassador for our region.”

Catholic Business Connections (CBC) is an opportunity for business women and men in our diocese (active and retired) who share common values, to network and engage with each other and leaders representing the diocese. CBC gathers three or four times a year for lunch and to listen to guest speakers chosen to inspire with their unique story and share how they relate their work and spiritual life experience to the context of living in a modern world.

Learn More