Deputy head teacher Des Kelly has been awarded the Cross of Honour for service to Catholic education.
At a Mass to mark his retirement after 34 years at St John Payne Catholic School in Chelmsford, Essex, Mr Kelly was awarded the medal officially known as Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, literally meaning “For Church and Pope”. He was presented with the award, recognising his work across the diocese in evangelisation, education and bereavement counselling, at Our Lady Immaculate church by Prior Hugh Allan O Praem.
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award is the highest honour and medal that the Pope can bestow upon laity and religious.
The following priests concelebrated Mass: Mgr George Stokes, Fr Prior Hugh Allan O Praem, Fr John Wisdom O Praem, Fr Maurice Gordon, Fr Brian O’Shea, Fr Dominic Howarth, Fr Dan Mason, Fr Tony Mc Kentey, Fr Frank Jackson, Fr Niall Harrington.
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is given for distinguished service to the Church. The medal may be cast in gold, silver or bronze. On one side is a cross with the image of Leo XII imprinted.