A ‘Papal blessing’ for church stalwart John

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A GLENROTHES man has been awarded a papal medal for his service to a town parish, reports MIKE DELANEY.

John McConnell received the Bene Merenti from Cardinal Keith O’Brien - Scotland’s leading Roman Catholic clergyman - when he visited St Paul’s Church recently.

The church has been the subject of a major refurbishment which John led.

Parish priest, Monsignor Gerry Hand, said: “This was awarded to John because of the many years of service in helping develop and maintain the fabric of St Paul’s and St. Mary’s (the parish’s church in Leslie).

“In particular, he project-managed the extension to the parish house and offices, helped Evelyn Ostrowska in the repair and development of St Mary’s after the arson attack nine years ago, and managed the recent major works on St Paul’s that were completed this year.

“As importantly, John has been active in the ongoing fabric work of the parish, being always available for day-to-day work and for dealing with emergency. “

Cardinal O’Brien emphasised that all of this work was an expression of John’s deep Christian faith.

John, who has been a member of the congregation of the Warout Road church for over 30 years, said: “I’m obviously honoured to receive the award and the family are delighted.

“It came as a complete shock to me to be given it.

“I was a chartered surveyor up until I retired and have been in property all my life which is how I became involved,” added the Vardon Drive man.

“The refurbishment of the church is now complete, aside from a wee bit of snagging, but the Historic Scotland people have come out and it is now grade-A listed.”

The award’s name means “good works.”