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Twenty Diocesan Faithful to Receive Papal Honors

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At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at St. Michael the Archangel in Cary, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge will present honors bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI on twenty men and women in the Diocese of Raleigh. Four of the recipients will receive the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross, and sixteen will receive the Benemerenti Medal.

The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is the highest award of the Roman Catholic Church bestowed by the Holy Father to the Laity. The English translation is “For Church and the Pope,” and is also known as the “Cross of Honor.” Established in 1888 by Leo XIII, it is currently given for distinguished service to the Church by lay people. The design of the medal is dictated by the Holy Father who bestows the honor. The medal or lapel ribbon may be worn at any time by the bearer.

The Benemerenti Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their dedicated service to the Church. The English translation is “well deserved.” The civil medal has the inscription benemerenti surrounded by a crown of oak leaves engraved on its face side. The medal is worn on the breast, suspended by ribbons of the papal colors.

“It is with great joy that I announce the bestowal of Papal Honors by our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, upon twenty of the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh,” Bishop Burbidge said on announcing the awards. “Those who are receiving these honors are truly representative of the many faithful who offer such generous service throughout our Diocese.”  

The following men and women will be honored:

Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross

Dr. Michael J. FedewaDr. Michael J. Fedewa, Ed.D.
St. James Parish, Henderson

Dr. Fedewa has served the Diocese of Raleigh for more than seventeen years as Superintendent of Catholic Schools.


Sister Mary Isaac KoenigSister Mary Isaac Koenig, S.U.
St. Mary Parish, Wilmington

For twenty-five years, she has served as the Director of Outreach at St. Mary Parish in Wilmington, NC, serving the needy from downtown Wilmington and surrounding cities.


Maurice and Ann KouryMr. Maurice J. Koury and Mrs. Ann Kirkpatrick Koury
Blessed Sacrament Parish, Burlington

Mr. and Mrs. Koury are recognized for their leadership in Catholic Education for pre-Kindergarten through eighth-grade children, through annual fund development in excess of $200,000 to support their parish school.


Benemerenti Medal

Mrs. Teresa AldahondoMrs. Teresa H. Aldahondo
St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Cary

Serving as a consultant for the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Raleigh for nineteen years until her retirement in July 2010.


John W. ByrneThe Honorable John W. Byrne
St. Bernadette Parish, Fuquay-Varina

In collaboration with his pastor, Mr. Byrne, Mayor of Fuquay-Varina, has demonstrated great leadership in the founding of St. Bernadette Parish with fifty fellow parishioners in 1980.


Charles and Martha CoeDr. Charles K. Coe, Ph.D. and Mrs. Martha Elenor Coe
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh

Dr. and Mrs. Coe have served as team members on the Diocesan Marriage Encounter program since 1980.


Dr. Robert L. DeucherDr. Robert L. Deucher, M.D.
St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Southern Pines

Dr. Deucher, noted for his devotion to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church, is vocal in publicly defending the teaching of the Church on medical ethics and the need to implement that teaching in fostering the Culture of Life.


Mr. William J. FraserMr. William J. Fraser
St. Paul Parish, New Bern

Mr. Fraser, who died September 16, 2011, served for fifteen years as director for St. Paul’s contemporary choir and as a member of his parish Liturgy Committee and also served as a member of the Diocesan Building and Real Estate Committee.


Mrs. Marguerite C. GibbonsMrs. Marguerite C. Gibbons
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, Raleigh

In 1991, Mrs. Gibbons saw a need for a local source of Catholic books for study and catechesis for the faithful. She opened In His Name Catholic Bookstore in Raleigh, seeking to strengthen people’s relationship with God and spread Christ’s message.


Mrs. Rebecca L. GuijarroMrs. Rebecca L. Guijarro
St. Mary Parish, Goldsboro

In her charitable work, Mrs. Guijarro has greatly assisted the missionary work of the Church in the rural areas of the Diocese of Raleigh, specifically in service to Catholic education at St. Mary School, Goldsboro, and in service to the rural Hispanic poor through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.


Mr. Milton JenkinsMr. Milton Jenkins
St. Gabriel Parish, Greenville

Mr. Jenkins has served his parish as a minister of hospitality, a Knight of Columbus, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and a founding member of his parish chapter of African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization.


Dr. George S. Lensing, Jr.Dr. George S. Lensing, Jr., Ph.D.
Newman Catholic Student Center, Chapel Hill

Dr. Lensing has been an outstanding Catholic example for thousands of students at the University of North Carolina, consistently witnessing his Catholic faith as a leader among the Catholic student community at the Newman Catholic Student Center.


Dr. J. Jacques MistrotDr. J. Jacques Mistrot, M.D.
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raleigh

Dr. Mistrot is recognized for his leadership in providing Catholic health care and in the education of the faithful regarding Catholic medical ethics and serving as consultant to Bishop Burbidge on medical ethic issues.


Mrs. Agnes S. PennyMrs. Agnes S. Penny
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, Raleigh

Mrs. Penny has been actively involved in youth ministry for over twenty years, both at a Diocesan level and as a faculty member at Cardinal Gibbons High School serving as the school’s Director of Outreach.


Mr. George QuigleyMr. George Quigley
St. Ann Parish, Fayetteville

Mr. Quigley has provided generous leadership both as a chairman and member of the Board of Catholic Charities for the Diocese, as well as in parish and civic organizations that assist the poor.


Mr. Linus G. RiehleMr. Linus G. Riehle
Holy Family Parish, Elizabeth City

Mr. Riehle has been an outstanding witness to the Catholic faith through his dedication to the service of others, especially in his parish where he promotes the Culture of Life and coordinates various ministries.


Mrs. Elizabeth A. RogosichMrs. Elizabeth A. Rogosich
St. Joseph Parish, Raleigh

Mrs. Rogosich has served for 10 years as a volunteer and an additional 20 years as Director of Birthchoice, a pro-life pregnancy center providing counseling, free limited ultrasound and resources to pregnant women in need of assistance.


Mrs. Anne W. StahelMrs. Anne W. Stahel
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh

Mrs. Stahel has demonstrated notable leadership in the Diocese of Raleigh through her support of Catholic Education, exampled through her founding and providing funding for the Gerald L. Lewis Excellence in Teaching Award.


*Additional information on the honorees can be found in the November issue of the NC Catholics.