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Monsignor David Cappo '67

Written on the 18 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association

Monsignor David Cappo

Exert from 2003 Rostrevor Magazine

Monsignor David Cappo is featured in the 2002 Annual as the Outstanding Old Scholar.

The page has been a regular feature of the Annual for over a decade. Monsignor Cappo's reflections from the Annual are published here as the ROCA wish to acknowledge his work and lifetime achievements in the service of God.

My life and my work at this point in my life can be seen in two streams, interconnected by a set of Christian values in the Catholic tradition that I thank the Christian Brothers at Rostrevor College for helping to mould and shape deep within me. I am a priest of the Church in Adelaide. I am currently the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Adelaide. In more understandable terms this is equivalent to being the deputy to the Archbishop of Adelaide and the Chief Executive of the operations of the Archdiocese. As well as this role, I am also the Chair of the Social Inclusion Board of the South Australian Government with a specific mandate to seriously diminish the homelessness problem in South Australia; to increase our school retention rates; to impact on the drug problems in South Australia particularly regarding designer drugs. Soon the Government will also give me the areas of youth suicide and aboriginal health to also combat. I have a staff of around twelve people in the Social Inclusion Unit of the Department of Premier and Cabinet to assist me in my role. I report directly to the Premier Hon. Mike Rann and I work with his authority to develop new social policies and programs.

l am operating under tight time lines that require me to move quickly and decisively in addressing these social problems to make South Australia a more cohesive society. My years (1962 - 967) at Rostrevor College were not marked by academic excellence or sporting achievement but they gave me a prize beyond measure. 

From the 1966 Annual Officers and NCOs.
Back: Cpls. R. Frodyma, B. Walsh, J Entwistle, 
C. Freeman.
Fourth Row: Sgt. A. Atyeo, Cpls, R. Clark, A. Del Fabbro. J. Dundon
Third Row: Sgts. J. Molnar; A. Russo, D. Cappo, D. Norman.
Second Row: Sgt. R. Daly, WO2 1 Kennely, CUOs. F. Kriven. E. Sullivan.
Front: CUO D. Nemeth, Lt. l. Davis, Maj. J. Sheehan

They were a time of real development in my character, my Christian convictions and my understanding of the social responsibility that we all have in making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the community. This has developed in me a great love of South Australia and my desire to work for the good of the citizens of our State.

I was an average student but with an ability to reflect deeply upon my experiences. I learned much from the Christian Brothers with whom I came into contact. Men of the calibre of Brothers Healy; Sexton; Tobin and Moylan taught me a lot about justice, perseverance, to stand up for what is right and good, to cherish virtues of honesty and truth and to always act with compassion and mercy. What they and many others gave to me I cherish with gratitude.

I spent four years of my time at Rostrevor in the Cadets under the command of Major Sexton and Major Whittington. These were great times and taught me much about leadership. I am sure that many of the skills I now use come from the experience of these times and the guidance I was given. Attending the Sergeant's course at Woodside; being the Colour Sergeant for our parade's; learning to teach and to lead in this environment was a laboratory in leadership.

Upon leaving Rostrevor at the end of 1967 1 went into the Seminary to train for the priesthood. By 1970 1 knew I had a lot more maturing to do and left the seminary and went into social work in the Department for Community Welfare in the Elizabeth Office. I studied part time at the old South Australian Institute of Technology and gained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Ten years of work at Elizabeth dealing with family crises and breakdown; family violence; drug abuse; youth crime; court and probation work, opened my eyes to the pain and problems in our community. Then in 1980 I decided to return to the seminary and I was ordained a Priest in 1984.

From the 1967 Annual Matriculation 11:
Back: P. Drever, J. Sawicki, T. Hywood, P. van der Lee, M. lvanov1c, A. Ringer, K. Lux, M. Rooney, K. Gillen.
Middle: P. Norman, G. Poynting, 
McCabe, 8. Keri1i. M. Coligan, L. Saturno, P. O'Neill.
Front: D. Elder, D. Cappo. P. DuBois, C. Rossi. D. Fahy, C. Peters, D. Mcfarlane, R. Clark. D. Norman
Absent: C. Howard, G. Bourke, J. Kennelly

I was appointed assistant priest at Brighton for three years. I then taught in the seminary as the Director of Pastoral Formation of Students for five years. Then in 1992 I was appointed the National Director of the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission Canberra. This body was the chief social policy and commentary agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference. I spent a part of most days of my time in Canberra in Parliament House putting the views of the Church regarding the values that should underpin the policies in government. In this role I was also the media spokesperson for the Commission on social issues.

I returned to Adelaide in 1996 as parish for Hectorville. I looked forward to this appointment and to getting away from the political and media pressure of Canberra. However, after only one year at Hectorville I was given an additional role by the Catholic Bishops' Conference. I was appointed executive officer of the Church's Professional Standards Committee with the task of coordinating the development of the procedures for responding to sexual abuse issues in the Church. My task was also to write a Code of Ethics for Clergy and Religious to assist them in their complex ministry.

I completed the Professional Standards role in 1999 and could then give my time solely to the marvelous community of Hectorville. This suddenly came to an end when I was appointed Vicar General in 2001. In 2002 I received a great honour from Pope Paul II when 1 was appointed a Prelate of Honour with the title of Monsignor.

There are many turns and twists in life for all of us. We all need points of reference that anchor us so that we are not just swept along passively in the drama of life. Christian values and my Catholic faith has been my anchor. What Rostrevor has contributed to in this I am so grateful. I can only urge the Rostrevor students of today to not only strive to do well in your studies; to not only enjoy your sport; but to allow yourselves to be touched and nourished by the great Christian and Catholic traditions found in our College, that will give meaning to your lives and happiness in your hearts, as I have found.

 

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Author: Old Collegians Association
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