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Two Former Archdiocesan Staff Members Recognized for Service to the Church
During Final Days of Pope Benedict XVI's Pontificate


Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has announced that Dr. Richard McCarron, former Secretary of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has been named a Knight Commander in the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. He also announced that Donna Farrell, former Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has received the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice ("Cross for the Church and Pontiff").


The honors were bestowed by Pope Benedicxt XVI in the closing days of his Pontificate and will be presented by Archbishop Chaput this Sunday.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

6:30 p.m. (Mass)

Presentation of Papal Honors (immediately following)

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Philadelphia, PA 19103


Pope John Paul II previously appointed Dr. McCarron to the Order of Saint Gregory the Great in 1998. He served as the Secretary of Catholic Education for 12 years, overseeing 17 Archdiocesan high schools, four schools of special education, and more than 160 parish elementary schools. He also managed curriculum, religious education programs, youth groups and the Newman Apostolate on behalf of the Archdiocese. His service in that role closed a career in Catholic education that spanned more than 40 years.


The rank of Knight Commander in the Order of Saint Gregory the Great is one of the highest honors the Holy Father can bestow on an individual. The Order of Saint Gregory the Great, one of the five pontifical knightly orders, was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831 to honor his great sixth century predecessor. In the nearly 200 years since, the Holy Father has awarded it to diplomats, artists, scientists, world leaders and interfaith leaders from all walks of life who have shown, by their service, extraordinary love for Jesus Christ and his Church. Membership signifies recognition from the Holy Father himself for service already rendered and an invitation from His Holiness to continue a life of exemplary Christian witness.


Donna Farrell, the first layperson in the Archdiocese to receive the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice since 2003, is currently the Manager of External Affairs for Independence Blue Cross. Her dedication to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Catholic faith was consistently evident through her efforts to highlight the good works of the local Church and promote Catholic values and teachings. She devoted countless hours to managing internal communications and media relations surrounding many of the largest challenges the Archdiocese has faced in its history. She began her service to the Archdiocese in 1998 and served as the Director of Communications from 2005-2012.


The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, also known as the Cross of Honor, comes directly from the Holy See and is composed of a gold medal with the name of the honor inscribed, as well as a scroll. The honor was established in 1888 and is given to Catholics who have shown distinguished service to the Church and to the Papal office.