by NZ CATHOLIC staff
CHRISTCHURCH — Pope Francis has recognised the work of Christchurch businessman Garry Donnithorne by awarding him the Papal
Cross of Honour — Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice — for distinguished
services to the Church and pope, in a ceremony held at St John of God Hauora Trust on Friday March 7.
The medal is granted direct from the pope for distinguished
service to the Church by clergy and laypeople.
It is the highest medal that the pope can award to laypeople.
Mr Donnithorne had previously served as chairperson of the St John of God Hauora Trust Board and has been involved with other Catholic
organisations in governance roles for many years.
The St John of God Hauora Trust chairperson, Mr Donnithorne’s
successor, Bevan Killick, conferred the papal award on behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
The surprise presentation was part of the trust’s celebrations of their patron saint, St John of God, whose Feast Day is March 8.
Along with the gold medal and ribbon of the Vatican’s distinctive white and yellow, Mr Donnithorne received an accompanying certificate containing the official seal and signature of the Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State.
The medal was originally established by Pope Leo XIII on July 17, 1888.