Congratulations to May Gilhooley of West Calder in West Lothian who was awarded the Archdiocesan Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church by Archbishop Leo Cushley, Sunday 18 November, in recognition of her 67 years of playing the church organ in her local parish, Our Lady & St Bridget's.
“I was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion and nervous too as I don’t like publicity,” said May following the ceremony, “but it felt good once it was all over.”
Originally from the nearby village of Polbeth, May started playing the organ in the local church when she was in her 4th Year at St Mary’s Academy in Bathgate. She recalls how the parish had a well trained and gifted choir who would sing four-part Masses each Sunday. While her professional life saw May work in finance in the civil service, the private sector and the further education sector, her commitment to playing the organ in the local parish remained unchanged and undiminished over all those years.
“May is a lovely person who is well known and much loved within our parish,” said Parish Priest, Father Marcin Motyka, “she is very humble, cheerful, and friendly and we were delighted to see her rewarded for her many years of service.”
The Archdiocesan Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church was established in 1975 by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Over those 43 years, only 100 or so medals have been awarded for “outstanding voluntary service” to the Church at a local level.