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Solemn Vespers Mark Celebration of Papal Honors

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The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presided at Solemn Vespers held Sunday, January 11 to celebrate the bestowal of Papal Honors by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on The Reverend Monsignor David D. Brockman, VG, and Miss Kathleen Walsh.

The appointments were announced in November, with Monsignor Brockman being elevated to the title of Prelate of Honor and Miss Walsh, director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Raleigh, receiving the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

“Monsignor” is a title of distinction given by the Pope to certain priests in the Roman Catholic Church in recognition of the priest’s service to the Church. Candidates are nominated for the honor by their Bishop for consideration by the Holy Father. Everyone who holds the title of monsignor is a part of the “papal family” and is allowed to attend Cappella Pontificia, the time when the Holy Father celebrates Solemn Mass. They are also allowed to participate.

The Holy Cross 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.

“We are so happy that our Holy Father and the Church have recognized what we know about Monsignor Brockman and Kathleen Walsh,” Bishop Burbidge said. “What lifts us up today is not their new titles or their medals, but rather the testimony of their lives, individuals faithful to their baptismal call and to the particular vocations the Lord has entrusted to them.”

In remarks following the prayer service, Miss Walsh gratefully acknowledged the “abundant graces and gifts which have been given to me in my life.” She spoke of reaching out and reaching in and of advocating for justice. “This may sound as if it's about me,” she said, “but you know that is not true. It is about us, as we live together in Christ.”

Monsignor Brockman noted the significance of the day, the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord, when Jesus entered into public ministry. He thanked Bishop Burbidge for his leadership in the Diocese and his guidance.