Pope Francis has conferred papal awards to 14 lay Filipino Catholics with local ties to the Archdiocese of Lipa, south of Manila, for their exceptional service to the Church.
The awardees receive their honors from Archbishop Gilbert Garcera during Mass in the Lipa Cathedral on Tuesday, December 6.
In his homily, the archbishop thanked the pope for granting the “distinctive and noble awards” that the archdiocese requested in August last year.
“These papal awards are recognition of the tireless dedication and selfless service of the recipients to God and to the Church,” Archbishop Garcera said.
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award was conferred by the Vatican to Noemi Saludo, 86; Candida Pasia, 98; Antonio Pastor, 92; and Rolando Leyesa, 84.
The papal award is a medal given by the pope to members of the clergy and laity for distinguished service to the Church. It is the highest honor that can be awarded to the laity by the pope.
Archbishop Garcera also presented the Benemerenti papal award to Josefina Mendoza, 101; Rosario Apacible, 80; Benita Ruffy Riñon, 86; Dolores Hernandez, 78; Carmelita Enrico, 73; Simplicia De La Cuesta, 66; Josefina Inciong, 76; Regina Erlinda Inciong, 83; Celso Marqueses, 73, and Rosanilia Saludo, 76.
The Benemerenti medal is awarded by the pope to members of the clergy and laity for long and exceptional service to the Church. Originally established as an award for soldiers of the Papal Army, it is now a civil decoration but may still be awarded to members of the Pontifical Swiss Guards.
The awarding took place as the archdiocese marks its year-long 50th anniversary celebration.