Raymond Francis James Reid


4/10/1944 – 24/4/2012



Ray dedicated much of his life to assisting those in the community who experienced psychological/emotional pain or distress. Ray was a faithful servant of God and dedicated to bringing forth the Kingdom of God. Those of you that knew Ray, would have experienced his humility, his patience, his amazing memory for detail, his precision in the spoken and written word and his great care and concern for all those he worked with and for. He was also well known for the great variety of jumpers his loving wife Jean had knitted for him through the years and his frugal, no frills and simple way of living.

Ray as a young man entered the seminary of the Passionist Congregation. After 5 years of study, he discerned that priesthood was not what God required of him. He left the seminary and undertook a social work degree at Sydney University, graduating with First Class Honours. Ray worked for the Department of Social Security and then the NSW Department of Health. There began his love of counselling and assisting people from all walks of life – but in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ray married Jean in 1974. They have two daughters and twin grandchildren.

Ray was awarded a Masters Degree in Social work in 1976. His thesis was on “The Hopeful Person”. Whilst at university he was a sessional tutor in the Departments of Social Work and Behavioural Science in Medicine.

In 1978 Ray was recruited to the Sydney Archdiocese’s Catholic Family Services. This was before the establishment of Parramatta as a separate diocese. Ray was appointed as Deputy Executive Director and was based at Parramatta.

Ray oversaw the establishment of Centacare Parramatta as a separate entity when the Parramatta Diocese was established in 1986. Ray was appointed as the inaugural Director of Centacare Catholic Family Services -Parramatta Diocese. Branches were established at Blacktown and then Kingswood. The marriage and counselling services were expanded and additional funding was gained for relationship education, pre-marriage education, problem gambling counselling, family support and pregnancy counselling.

Ray had the role of administrator and kept a keen eye on the financial viability and Centacare developed a well earned reputation for high quality counselling services. Many staff and students have developed professionally under Ray’s clinical supervision and training expertise.

Ray was granted a Churchill Fellowship in 1996 and travelled to the USA and Canada to interview experts in the field of the impact of clerical abuse on Church communities. His report “Pain, Hope and Healing” carried significant recommendations to guide Church leaders in assisting communities impacted by clerical abuse.

Assisting people impacted by sexual abuse has been a special work of Ray’s – both directly in counselling those who had been abused and also providing training and supervision for others working in this specialised field.

Ray has written many articles and resources covering a variety of subjects including social work practice, Catholic Social Teaching, Moral Reasoning, Marriage Counselling, and Pre-Marriage Education. Ray provided advice to the Social Work Faculty at the Australian Catholic University and also lectured in the Masters of Social work course at ACU. Ray continued to study throughout his working life and has most recently achieved a Masters of Arts in Philosophy.

In 2007 the Parramatta Diocese integrated a number of diocesan welfare agencies (including Centacare) and appointed the inaugural Executive Director of Catholic Social Services – Parramatta Diocese. This was a role Ray did not apply for – choosing instead to work as a Senior Professional Consultant in this new organisation – providing counselling, supervision and training – and based at our Blacktown branch.

We thank Ray for his many years of dedicated service to the community of Western Sydney and beyond and acknowledge the professional work and spiritual direction he provided. I will quote Ray here about his work: “I love the work that I do, even though it is at times very challenging.  Sometimes I know I become part of the clients’ and even staff’s lives long after I no longer am working with them. You never really know when the work ends – it is in God’s hands.”

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and Ray Reid
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and Ray Reid

Ray’s legacy is that he exists in the minds and hearts of people whose lives he has touched through his presence and his work in it’s many and varied forms.

Ray is the first recipient of the Diocesan Medal for faithful service to the Church. Bishop Anthony presented the Medal to Ray at his home just a few days before he died.

Ray died peacefully at home with his family around him at 9.30am on Tuesday the 24th April 2012.

Jean and Ray Reid
Jean and Ray Reid

Tags: Ray Reid   CatholicCare   Parramatta

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