Cardinal Gilroy Society – Supporting those that support the church

The Cardinal Gilroy Society acknowledges and recognises those who have made bequests to the Archdiocese of Sydney in their wills.

Much loved and remembered Cardinal Norman Gilroy, was the first Australian-born Archbishop of Sydney from 1940 to 1971 and the first Australian-born member of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Gilroy made a significant contribution to Australian society and to the Catholic community.

Cardinal George Pell established the society in 2009 to acknowledge and thank those who have made bequests to the Archdiocese of Sydney in their wills. As Patron of the Cardinal Gilroy Society, Cardinal Pell said its establishment “is a chance for us to offer our heartfelt thanks and to acknowledge our parishioners and friends’ selfless and generous support”.

Open to parishioners and friends who have generously supported the work of the Sydney Archdiocese and who made provision to continue this support into the future, the Cardinal Gilroy Society offers members invitations to special Archdiocesan events and functions as well as briefings on church activities throughout the year. Membership is free and benefactors who choose to become members receive a handsome engraved certificate as well as a special edition “numbered” gold pin.

At the original launch of the society Bill Gilroy, nephew of the late Cardinal said: “Cardinal Gilroy wasn’t into big statues and memorials. He wasn’t an extravagant man and was always very aware of the needs of the Archdiocese.”

Bill Gilroy said as the society grows and keeps members up to date on what is going on in the Archdiocese, it also constantly lets them know the value of their commitment to the church, no matter how large or how small.

The fifth Archbishop of Sydney, Sir Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy KBE not only made history as the first Australian-born Cardinal, he was also the first Cardinal since the Reformation to be created a Knight Commander of the British Empire .

While those in the Church remember the Cardinal as one of the great leaders of Australia’s Catholic Church, to Bill and his other surviving relatives, he was simply, “Uncle Norman”.

Along with his memories of his uncle, Bill also read a section of a letter Cardinal Gilroy wrote as a 20-year-old signalman with the Royal Australian Navy off Gallipoli during World War I.

For Bill though, it was his uncle’s warmth and compassion he remembers most, as well as the many Christmases spent with him at various parishes around Sydney and later the Christmases they enjoyed when as Cardinal, his uncle lived for a time at “the Palace,” the grand building opposite the seminary of the now closed St Patrick’s College at Manly.

“My uncle accomplished so much in his life and the Society established in his name by Cardinal Pell couldn’t have a better symbol,” Bill says, adding that for the family it is a lovely legacy of a man who was admired and loved by not only his family, but by Sydneysiders and Catholics everywhere.

“He always had a real concern for people in need, by which he didn’t mean only poor people in need but the rich who were in need as well. He didn’t discriminate,” says Bill, describing his uncle as “a man who did ordinary things in an extraordinary way.”

To find out more about the Cardinal Gilroy Society or to discuss the matter of a bequest in confidence, contact the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s Bequest Manager on 02 9390 5947 or click here.