FR MICHAEL SMITH, press officer for the Archdiocese of Southwark, tells me that Archbishop Bowen's secretary to the diocesan curia for 14 years, Miss Joan Lee, pictured above, has been presented with the cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, for her services to St George's Cathedral.
In presenting the papal award the Archbishop said, "you have served us all with tremendous devotion and loyalty." Mgr Canon Joseph Callanan, the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese, read from the many tributes paid to Miss Lee by priests of the Archdiocese at the ceremony.
Miss Lee, who was born in Northamptonshire, and now lives in Petts Wood, is retiring early because of failing eyesight.
After spending a number of years in British banking here, and abroad, she was received into the Church, and later joined the Southwark Curia.
"I have certainly found great Christianity here," was her comment to me.
Miss Lee will be busy in her retirement as she is VicePresident of the Henry VI Society which has as its main aim the canonisation of this English King. I wish her many happy years in her retirement, and look forward to reading the new works she proposes to write on the saintly Henry.
Fr Benedict O'Shea, press officer for the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, which embraces the lovely counties of Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex, tells me that Lady Sarah Fitzalan Howard has been awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Papal Honour for her services to the diocese.
Bishop Cormac Murphy O'Connor conferred the honour during the final Mass of the annual diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes in which 780 people took part, 180 of them sick pilgrims.
Fr O'Shea also informs me that Mr Kenneth Parker FRICS of Farnham, Surrey, has received the Knighthood of St Gregory. This Papal Award was conferred by Bishop Cormac Murphy O'Connor at the Maryvale Pastoral Centre, Bramley, in recognition of Mr Parker's work on the Diocesan Council of Administration.
At Kingfield in Woking, the Bishop conferred the Papal
Knighthood of St Gregory on Mr John Sylvester of Woking, Surrey, in recognition of his
services to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton as Chairman of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
Congratulations to Mr Kenneth Parker KSG, and to Mr John Sylvester KSG.
Are there any more diocesan press offices out there with
news, particularly of Wales? I have been severely taken to task for not giving adequate coverage of the activities of our 150,000 brothers and sisters in the land of Archbishop John Aloysius Ward of Cardiff. Wales, of course, gave Ireland and the world St Patrick. St Thomas
More was betrayed for it.