PAPAL AWARD IN LENNOXTOWN: Congratulations to Miss Ella Murray of Lennoxtown who has been awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Francis for her many decades of faithful service to St Machan’s parish. "Well done, Miss Murray, we're all proud of you and happy for you," said Father John Deighan, parish priest, at the award ceremony 29 December.
90-year-old Miss Murray received the award primarily for her service to the parish as organist and choir mistress over many years.
During the award ceremony, the former parish priest, Canon William Conway, emphasised that Miss Murray always did everything “with a spirit of gladness and generosity”, and that her award was therefore as much on account of her Christian witness as the service she gave to the parish.
The Benemerenti Medal was first awarded by in the 18th century by Pope Pius VI. It originally recognised military merit although is now also awarded to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Church.
The current version of the Benemerenti Medal was designed in the 20th century by Pope Paul VI. The medal is a gold Greek Cross depicting Christ with his hand raised in blessing. On the left arm of the cross is the tiara and crossed keys, symbols of the papacy. On the right arm is the coat of arms of the current Pontiff. The medal is suspended from a yellow and white ribbon, the colours of the Papacy. Each medal is inscribed with the word “Benemerenti”, derived from the Latin, meaning "to a well deserved person"
Photograph: Miss Murray and members of her family pose for a photograph with Father James Tracey, Canon William Conway, Miss Ella Murray and Father John Deighan