I trust that most people in the Province are aware that on Monday, the annual celebration of the Queen’s Birthday, Fr. Frank Bertagnolli was awarded the Honour of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). The citation was for service to the Salesians of Don Bosco and to young people. Only some of his remarkable gift to the Congregation and the Province were mentioned.
Allow me to remind you all of them: 1974-77: Rector at Brunswick; 1978-81: Rector and Principal at Glenorchy; 1982-87: Provincial; 1988-93: Rector and Director of Boys’ Town; 1994-2003: Provincial Economer; 2004-2007: Rector at Engadine; 2008: Sabbatical (at last!); 2010-: Rector at Glenorchy.
If you examine these commitments in their historical settings within the Province, Frank has taken on major tasks at critical moments in our history. To this “front line” activity, he has maintained outstanding contact with many of the men who came to Australia as young Salesian missionaries, but whose lives have taken them elsewhere. He has also played a major role in a number of Italian communities.
Fr. Frank was tempted to refuse this honour, as he suggested there are many other unsung heroes. That is true, but I am glad that he accepted it. His honour is an honour for all of us, and for the work for young people that the Lord is doing through us, in the name of Don Bosco.
Congratulations and thanks, Frank.
Fr. Frank Moloney, SDB