‘Well deserved, Mrs Grieson’, says Pope Francis

Posted by Allan Doyle, With 0 Comments,
Margaret Grierson with her medal following the presentation by Fr Kevin Murray.

Margaret Grierson with her medal following the presentation by Fr Kevin Murray.

One of our own parishioners has been recognised by the Pope for her years of service to the parish.

Margaret Grierson was awarded the Benemerenti medal - one of the highest honours the Vatican can bestow on members of its flock.

It's given for long and exceptional service; Benemerenti literally means "well deserved".

And that’s something with which parishioners would definitely agree.

Originally from Ireland, Margaret has been an active member of Our Lady and St Andrew's for more than four decades - serving as Sacristan for over twenty years, organising services and assisting with parish administration.

She's now right-hand woman to her third parish priest, Father Kevin Murray.

It was Fr Murray who presented the Benemerenti medal and citation to a clearly touched Margaret at Mass on Sunday - much to her surprise.

"I had no idea.  I'm speechless," she told the congregation.  "And that doesn't happen often.  Thank you very much."

Afterwards, examining her medal and reading the dedication scroll personally signed by Pope Francis, Margaret couldn't hide her delight.

"I never imagined anything like this," she said.

Father Murray says Mrs Grierson and her husband Jim have been invaluable in helping him find his feet since he took over parishes in Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk just over a year ago.

He calls Margaret "a rock" for himself, and for the entire parish.

"She would never dream of expecting any reward for her work - which is why it's so good to see her recognized in this way."

Any nomination for the Benemerenti medal has to be accompanied by at least three letters attesting to the service and good character of the potential recipient.

The award has been on hold for a couple of months; Margaret's been in hospital recently, and is only just back to work.

And Father Murray had to hide the missive from the Vatican to ensure his hard-working Sacristan remained in the dark until the big moment.

During her absence, it's fair to say Margaret found the enforced idleness difficult.

And also that several people were required to fill in for her!