Priest receives award from the Pope

1011011 SSGG st pauls 'Father Hand at the altar beside the Germanic cruxifiction - restoration work done at St Pauls RC Chapel
1011011 SSGG st pauls 'Father Hand at the altar beside the Germanic cruxifiction - restoration work done at St Pauls RC Chapel

Father Gerry Hand of St Paul’s in Glenrothes, St Mary’s in Leslie and the Chapel Royal at Falkland Palace, recently received the title of Monsignor, from Rome, at the recommendation of local bishop Cardinal Keith O’Brien, for all his hard work in these parishes and other organisations within the church.

Now to be referred to as Monsignor Hand, he has over 30 years experience in the priesthood.

He explained more about his recent ‘promotion’.

Monsignor Hand said: “It’s a wee type of honorary thing.

“Basically it’s an award from Archbishop Cardinal Keith O’Brien but you have to apply to Rome, so it is to the very top, but I’m basically recommended for it.

“Officially it’s from the Pope.

“I guess you could say it’s like getting an MBE or CBE. It’s an honour to Scotland, to the diocese.

“It’s to recognise not only my work in the parish but in national church bodies, like when I was the chairperson for Scottish Marriage Advice and other such groups.

“Sometimes this is given due to a position or as a recognition of various duties.

“It’s quite special, I think there are six or seven Monsignors in the diocese.”

The priest received his award recently, when St Paul’s re-opened after the £400,000 renovation of the grade A listed building.

Monsignor Hand is happy with this recognition within the church, as are his parishioners, who see it as ‘a team effort’.

He said: “There was a presentation given in the parish a couple of weeks back.

“There is special robes that go with becoming a Monsignor, so I was given that and a gift from the parish.

“I was actually made a Monsignor officially back in November but we waited until St Paul’s was renovated before having the ceremony.

“I still tend to use Father Hand as my title. Becoming a Monsignor is more an honorary thing than a title.

“I have trained priests and had one or two positions within the church, so it is nice that has been recognised.

“I’m delighted to have become a Monsignor and the parish are delighted too.

“The parish are happy, they see it as a team effort.”