Pope Francis has awarded Sr. Emmanuel Kilkelly RSM the Papal Bene Merenti Medal for her exceptional long and dedicated service to the Church and the Parish of New Ross.
Sr. Emmanuel, who celebrated her 90th birthday recently with her family and community, entered the Mercy Convent in New Ross on December 18th 1943 from Co. Mayo. Having taught in both St. Joseph’s Primary and St. Mary’s Secondary schools in New Ross, on her retirement Sr. Emmanuel became the first secretary of the then newly formed Parish Office and later, part-time sacristan in the parish church, a position she continues to serve.
The presentation was made at the 12:15 Holy Mass in St. Mary’s & St. Michael’s Church, New Ross, on Sunday February 22nd by His Excellency Most Rev. Charles John Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland – and by happy coincidence, a relation to Sr. Emmanuel.
The Bene Merenti Medal was instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and is conferred on those who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church, their families and community. It has the word ‘benemerenti’ (to a well deserving person) on its face, surrounded by a crown of oak leaves; the ribbon is made of Papal colours. Recipients are also presented with a parchment recording the honour bestowed upon them.
Pictured after the presentation are: (from left) Rev. Roger O’Neill CC, Very Revd Monsignor Amaury Medina Blanco, Sr. Emmanuel Kilkelly RSM, His Excellency Most Rev. Charles J. Brown, V. Rev. Patrick Canon O’Brien, Rt. Rev. Mgr. Joseph McGrath PP and Rev. Tomás Kehoe CC, with altar servers of New Ross Parish.