Diocesan medals have been awarded to four parishioners at St John the Evangelist Church in Portobello for their outstanding contribution to parish life.

Frances McDevitt, Alice Codling and Gena and Tom Gallagher were presented with the medal by Archbishop Cushley at Mass on Sunday.

The parishioners were nominated by parish priest Canon Jock Dalrymple.

He said: "Frances McDevitt this year celebrated 50 years as our gifted, generous and reliable organist.

Francis McDevitt has been the church organist for an half a century.

"Born and brought up in the parish, she is a most faithful parishioner in every way. She co-ordinated the Fundraising Group for our Tower Project, now successfully completed, and is the very competent Secretary of St John’s Pastoral Council."

He continued: "Alice Codling has been Pastoral Assistant at St John’s for the last three decades.

"As well as being a wise and faithful counsellor, first to Mgr Rae and then to me, she has co-ordinated our parish Adult Formation and ran our very active RCIA group with considerable skill, creativity, and patience.

Alice Codling with Archbishop Cushley.

"If one person has ‘held’ the history of the parish since she moved here from Preston in Lancashire in her early married life, it has been her."


Married couple, Gena and Tom Gallagher shared a diocesan medal for their brilliant joint work.

Gena and Tom Gallagher with Archbishop Cushley.

Canon Jock said: "Tom has been our chief welcomer/passkeeper for many years, co-ordinating a faithful team, while together he and Gena were responsible for the parish piety stall for over two decades.

"Tom has also supported Gena in running our very active Thursday Club for the elderly, for thirty years.

"In addition, Gena has had a wonderful ministry with the sick, taking communion to them, visiting them in hospital and doing their shopping."

Altar servers at St John the Evangelist, with Deacon Eddie White and Archbishop Cushley (pic: Linda Moran)

The Archdiocesan Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church was established in 1975 by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray, then Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

Since then, just over 100 or so medals have been awarded for “outstanding voluntary service” to the Church at a local level.

Pics: Deacon Eddie White.