Pope Francis honors five from LC Diocese - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pope Francis honors five from LC Diocese

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's a day five local Catholics will never forget -- because they received special honors from Pope Francis.

The honors are given to the lay faithful to recognize distinguished service and valued contribution to the life of the church. Bishop Glen John Provost presented the awards at Thursday's mass on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

The honorees are Larry and Gloria Deroussel of the Cathedral Parish and Willie and Patsy Moreno, of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish. They were named Knights and Dames of St. Gregory the Great.

A Papal medal was awarded to Dinah Bradford who recently retired as principal of Immaculate Conception Cathedral School. The Papal Medal Benemerenti was started in 1832 and is known as a merit medal.

Monsignor Jace Eskind said the five have worked hard for the church and deserve the recognition.

"The honors are a recognition of service and there's different levels of that service. The two couples their honors, they've been honored into the Order of St. Gregory. It's a knighthood, so they're dames and nights of the Order of St. Gregory. Whereas the Benemerenti is an honor given by the pope to recognize someone for their service, but it's not like into an order," said Eskind.

He said all of those honored have contributed much to the church locally and for a long time.

"Willie Moreno has worked with our diocesan building commission for years, the Deroussels have worked with vocations and promoting vocations and are very active in our parish. Mrs. Bradford, having served as principal at our school for twelve years and just recently retired and also involved in other areas of parish ministry within her own parish as well. And so it's just a really good way of letting them know that the church appreciates what they've done," said Eskind.

He said lay people pay essential roles in the Catholic Church today.

"The clergy does wonderful work, the religious do wonderful work but the laity really do a lot of good work as well it's all part of recognizing that whole priesthood through baptism that we're all called to," said Eskind.

Bishop Provost said the honorees have answered the needs of the church in many ways including support for schools, vocations, and diocesan programs including helping with the under privileged.  

A week from today the pope's apostolic nuncio from Rome, will be here for the crowning  of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral.

The special event helps celebrate 100 years since the Cathedral Church was rebuilt after the great fire of 1910.

Due to limited seating the event is by invitation only.

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