Four lay people were each presented with the Crux Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice at Masses in Christchurch North parish on July 4-5.
They were Daphne Thorose, Ron Healing, Pat McQuinn and Pat Carroll. In the photo with them is Fr Rick Loughnan.
According to a parish newsletter, the medals are a recognition of their service to their former parish communities over the years.
The Crux Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for Church and Pope) is the highest honour that can be awarded to the laity by the Pope. The diocesan bishop petitions the Holy See with the names and biographical information of those whom he wishes to receive the award. Normally it is conferred on those individuals for their distinguished service to the Catholic community.