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Papal Honors Conferred on 20 Diocesan Faithful

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The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presented Papal Honors to 20 men and women in the Diocese of Raleigh during Solemn Vespers at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, Tuesday, December 6, 2011. The Honors were bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI. Four of the honorees were awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross, the highest award of the Roman Catholic Church given to the Laity. Sixteen of the honorees were presented with the Benemerenti Medal in recognition of their dedicated service to the Church.

An estimated 1,000 people attended the ceremony, including family and friends of the recipients, who represent 16 parishes in the Diocese. Twenty-seven priests were vested with others in attendance.

“Your honors bring great joy to our entire Diocese, and we are so very proud of you,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily.  Reflecting on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Bishop said, “We are reminded that the Lord has given to His people various roles and gifts and ministries.”

Pointing to the honorees, Bishop Burbidge said, “Look how they are represented in the lives of those who have received honors and who come from all parts of our Diocese.” He noted the range of gifts they offer in service, including providing outreach to those in need, embracing the dignity of life, providing models of married love and family life, and in medicine being instruments of “God’s healing love.”

“Know also,” Bishop Burbidge said, “that you are a gift to us: your family, your Church, your Diocese, your Bishop and all those who know and love you.”

Above:  Papal Honorees receiving Prayer of Blessing at close of ceremony. (Click photo to view larger.)

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Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)

Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily

Watch presentation of Papal Honors to recipients (Windows Media)

Those receiving the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice:

Dr. Michael J. Fedewa, Ed. D.

St. James Parish, Henderson

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

Mr. Maurice J. Koury, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Burlington

Mrs. Ann K. Koury, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Burlington

Those receiving the Benemerenti Medal:

Mrs. Theresa H. Aldahondo, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Cary

Hon. John W. Byrne, St. Bernadette Parish, Fuquay-Varina

Dr. Charles K. Coe, Ph.D., Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh

Mrs. Martha E. Coe, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh

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

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

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

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

Mr. Milton Jenkins, St. Gabriel Parish, Greenville

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

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

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

Mr. George Quigley, St. Ann Parish, Fayetteville

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

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

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

*Additional information on the Papal Honorees is available in the November issue of the NC Catholics.