Father Rafe Beltrame was recognised for his tireless service to the Griffith community on Wednesday.
Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli visited Scalabrini Village, where Fr Beltrame resides, to present him the NSW Government Community Service Award.
When presenting the award Mr Piccoli reminisced about his memories of Fr Beltrame and the reasons he was recognised.
“Thinking back to when you were in primary school, you don't have a lot of memories, it's a long time, but my distinct memories are Father Beltrame asking the kids about their experiences,” Mr Piccoli said.
“Father Beltrame, the values that you've given me as a catholic has shaped the decisions that I’ve made.
“Your work is spread far and wide across this community and across the whole of NSW, congratulations father it's absolutely well deserved.”
The prestigious award can only be awarded to two people in any electorate.
Fr Beltrame earned the praise for his selfless service to the community over the past 60 years.
This included the role of assistant priest at Sacred Heart Griffith from 1966 to 1979 before being appointed parish priest from 1979 to 2002.
He was also chaplain to the residents of Scalabrini Village for 26 years.
Friends and family visited Scalabrini Village to honour Fr Beltrame, including current parish priest at Sacred Heart Church Father Andrew Grace.
“The legacy you have left is just quite amazing father, I still see the fruits of your labour wherever I go,” Fr Grace said.
“People talk so highly of you and the stories, everyone’s got a Father Beltrame story, it’s just incredible.
“I think it is indeed a fitting day to recognise this amazing legacy, you're an inspiration father and I hope and pray I can be half the man, half the priest, that you are.
“In my heart he is still the parish priest of Griffith but in my head I know that I will have to answer to the bishop.”
According to the official nomination for the award, Fr Beltrame was recognised for his capacity to treat each person with the utmost respect and for the generosity of his time with individuals, listening to them, caring for and praying with them.