Twenty receive papal honors at ceremony


CHARLESTON — Twenty faithful of the Church of Charleston who received special honors from the pope last November were presented with their awards at a ceremony on April 11 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

The honorees included 13 people who received the papal medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, four who were granted the title of Reverend Monsignor, one who received the Benemerenti Medal, one who was installed as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great and another who was named a Protonotary Apostolic.

This was the third occasion for papal honors during the tenure of Bishop David B. Thompson. Honors were last awarded in December of 1997, and previously in 1991.

In his homily prior to the conferral of honors, Bishop Thompson said that many in attendance at the ceremony would remember the Sunday after Easter as being called “Low Sunday.” However, the Bishop stressed that this occasion could be called “High Sunday: high in spirit, high in profile, and high in rejoicing.”

He then congratulated all 20 recipients of papal recognition for the honor they have brought to the Church of Charleston.

In discussing the reading used at the occasion, Bishop Thompson said that the words of St. Paul remind everyone of the various duties within the church, and the various honors.

“In the mystical body of Christ, we are all important,” said the Bishop, adding that he was grateful to the Holy Father for the diversity shown in the recipients of recognition from the Vatican.

Honorees come from across the 31,000 miles of the Diocese of Charleston, he said, stretching from Aiken to Rock Hill to Myrtle Beach. “So many honors for so many people,” emphasized Bishop Thompson, his arms stretched in front of the rows of papal honorees.

He said the ceremony is, “not the Academy Awards,” in that the recipients don’t have to give a speech, sing or dance. “However, you must realize the new responsibility you have,” said the Charleston ordinary.

Then he added, “As we sing in the liturgy, ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.’ let us begin.”

The “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (For the Church and Pontiff” medal was awarded to Sister Anne Francis Campbell, OLM, Brother Paul T. Cullen, CFX, Ernestine Harris, Sister Bernardin Jax, OSF, Mary Muthig Jeffcoat, Florence Kaster, Joan Gladden Mack, Pauline Mulherin Mullally, Father William F. Pentis, CO, Deacon Robert J. Waters, Brother Joseph E. Wilkerson, CO, Sister Mary Jacob Yelcho, CSA, and Sue Durbin Zedek.

Recipient of the Benemerenti Medal for Christian character was Nicholas J. Theos.

The new Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great for exemplary conduct and personal character and noted accomplishments is Dennis F. Atwood.

Msgrs. Henry T. Barron, Thomas A. Evatt, Thomas X. Hofmann, and Chester M. Moczydlowski were elevated by those honorary titled by being named as Prelates of Honor of His Holiness by Pope John Paul II for the advancement and growth of the Catholic cause.

Msgr. James A. Carter was named a Protonotary Apostolic, the highest grade of monsignor, for his dedication and exceptional service and care for Catholic matters. The position also entails being a member of the papal household, and as such Msgr. Carter took an oath of obedience to the successor of St. Peter.