Papal Award for Helen Howard

Bishop Michael McKenna has presented Mrs Helen Howard, recently retired after 47 years of service at the Chancery and Catholic Development Fund, with an award from Pope Francis.

The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is bestowed by the Pontiff for distinguished service to the Church and is the highest medal that can be awarded to the laity by the Pope. A diocesan bishop may petition the Holy See, providing biographical information for someone he feels deserves to receive the award, which dates back to 1888. Bishop Michael asked the Holy Father to grant the award as a tangible sign of appreciation for Helen's many decades of service to our local church.

"For many years, she has built solid and trusted relationships with the clergy, religious and laity of the entire Diocese. Her good work has been regular and reliable and to many, she is the ‘face’ of our Development Fund", Bishop Michael said.

Helen joined the Bishop and her former colleagues for prayer in the Chancery Chapel on 21st June, where Bishop Michael blessed her and presented her with her medals and certificate.

Helen was overwhelmed and humbled to receive the award and she and her family have expressed their deep gratitude to the Bishop for acknowledging her long commitment to the Diocese in this very special way.