.- According to the Archdiocese of Denver, Pope John Paul II has recently named six area couples and five individuals as recipients of significant papal honors. The Pope named five of the Denver couples for induction as dames and knights into the papal knightly Order of St. Gregory the Great, and a sixth as recipients of the Benemerenti Award for exceptional service to the Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese stated that the knightly awards are often “seen as a ‘lifetime achievement’ recognition,” and noted that “these are the first such papal appointments in the Archdiocese of Denver in recent memory.”
The Holy Father named Catholic philanthropists John and Carol Saeman as Knight and Dame Commander of the order of St. Gregory the Great. They join Archdiocesan Chancellor Francis Xavier Maier and his wife Suann Therese, Deacon Clarence and Wanda McDavid, Deacon Alfonso and Frances Sandoval and philanthropists Thomas and Judith Morroni who were each named as knights and dames respectively.
Curtis Martin, president and founder of the FOCUS college ministry and his wife Michaelann were named to receive the Benemerenti Medal, which awards exceptional service to the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver nominated the couples for the award and told the Denver Catholic Register, “Each spouse has served the Church in a distinguished individual way and is fully deserving of the honor on the merits of his or her own witness, but each spouse has also supported the other’s vocation in a manner that offers a heroic model of Christian family and married love.”
In addition, the Pope named five Denver area individuals to receive the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontificate award which recognizes extraordinary service to the Church and the papacy.
Recipients of the Cross Pro Ecclesia it Pontificate include Noreen Begordis, Vincent Cook, Rodney Lenz, Sister M. Timothea Elliot, R.S.M., and Sister Sharon Ford, R.S.M.
Archbishop Chaput will confer the prestigious awards at a February 6th Mass at Denver’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral.