SSVP man Richard honoured by Pope Francis

Congratulations to Richard Steinbach who has been honoured with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.

The award is given to those who have shown distinguished service to the Church and the papacy and is the highest medal that the Pope can award to a layperson.

Elaine and Richard at St Michael's in Linlithgow, where Archbishop Cushley presented the award at the annual Archdiocesan SSVP Mass on Saturday.
Richard, a parishioner at Ss John and Columba in Rosyth was recognised for his dedication to the Church and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) which he joined in 1998, later becoming diocesan president and national vice president.

His work within the SSVP has been devoted to the good causes of assisting the vulnerable and needy, visiting sick and housebound, providing transport to Mass for limited mobility parishioners.

His care and compassion for others was expressed in many ways, including his active support for the SSVP Fife Furniture Project, and the Missionaries of Charity Project.

Richard and Elaine with their family, along with Archbishop Cushley, Canon Paul Kelly (right) and Deacon Douglas Robertson.

In the days leading up to Christmas, Richard would be delivering bags of groceries and gifts to those in need. He enthusiastically encouraged SSVP Youth activities, visiting schools and arranging visits for the SSVP Youth Development Co-ordinator.

No tribute to Richard would be complete without mentioning his wife, Elaine. Many SSVP members rely on the active support of their spouses and Elaine, herself an SSVP member, has always been available to assist him.

Over the years, Richard has quietly encouraged others to participate more fully in the life of the parish.  On the social side, he is an active supporter and worker for the family fun days and social events organised for the benefit of his parish.

He has fulfilled the role of Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for many years, choir member and is currently one of the Lectors of the parish.

Richard has exercised his pastoral roles throughout these years with such modesty that the extent of his commitment and involvement within the parish would not be known by many parishioners.

Applause for Ivor as he receives Archdiocesan medal

Aplause rang out at St Peter's in Morningside when a former headteacher and dedicated parishioner was awarded the Archdiocesan Medal by Archbishop Leo Cushley.

Ivor Clarke received the medal at the 11:30am Sunday Mass at the church and was joined by his wife Marna.

Parish priest Kevin Douglas nominated Ivor for the award, saying: "He and Marna are moving through to Glasgow and we felt it would be fitting to mark his years of service.

"It's a moment when the torch is passed from one generation of volunteers to another. We are please he has been honoured this way."

Since retiring, Ivor he has served as a parish rep on the local school council and helped facilitate good relations between the local primary school, St Peter's, and parish.

He ran the altar servers' formation programme at the parish for close to two decades. He and Marna have also served as sacristans for many years at St Peter's and also at St Columba's.

Ivor worked in the Archdiocese as a teacher at Catholic schools, including St Margaret's in Hawick and St Kenneth's in Livingston and was head teacher at St Peter's in Morningside before retiring.

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.

Main image: Ivor and Marna with Archbishop Leo Cushley. Also pictured are Fr Kevin Douglas (left), Deacon John Smith (right) and altar servers.

Papal award for dedicated parishioner Margaret

An Edinburgh parishioner has been recognised with a special papal award for dedication to her parish.

Margaret Creamer received the benemerenti medal from Archbishop Leo Cushley at Ss Ninian and Triduana Church recently. Her husband John received the award in 2006.

Speaking to the Scottish Catholic Observer, Des Brogan, a parish council member, said: "Margaret and her husband John have been great supporters of the parish for over 50 years now. Margaret was the real power behind the throne. She was involved in every guild and working behind every social we had in the parish and played a big part in the running of the church for many, many years.

"We thought this would be a good time to say thank-you for all the hard work she has done. We got in touch with the Archbishop and he was happy to raise this with Rome. It coincided with her birthday so all her family were here and she thought that's why they were with her at Mass.

"The real reason was that the Archbishop was here to present her medal. "

Committed Kathleen receives Archdiocesan Medal

A parishioner in Broxburn has received a special award for her generous contribution to parish life.

Kathleen Steyn received the Archdiocesan Medal from Archbishop Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh following Mass at Ss John Cantius & Nicholas, Broxburn, on Sunday evening.

For many years Kathleen, 80, has worked to raise funds for various projects including Mary’s Meals for which she organised thousands of backpacks to support its annual appeal.

Parish priest Father Jeremy Bath said: “Kathleen has been a committed member of the parish community for many years. She attends Mass daily and has raised thousands of pounds for charity, including Mary’s Meals. She also visits the sick and housebound on a regular basis.”

Archbishop Leo Cushley added: “It is always encouraging to meet parishioners who are so committed to Christ through the work they do in the parish and wider community.

“Kathleen is a worthy recipient of this medal and I’d like to thank her on behalf of the Archdiocese for her positive contribution in helping others over so many years.”

Frank Nelson, Head of Fundraising at Mary’s Meals, said: “Warmest congratulations to Kathleen on being awarded the Archdiocesan medal. Mary’s Meals feeds more than 1.5 million hungry children in 18 countries across the world every school day.

"Thanks to dedicated supporters such as Kathleen, those children - who might otherwise be begging, working or scavenging for their next meal - are sitting in classrooms with full stomachs, learning how to read and write.”

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