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Papal honours recognize service to Church

Papal honours were conferred upon a number of individuals at the Basilica Cathedral of Christ the King this past weekend by Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec and Douglas Crosby, Bishop of Hamilton.

The orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See include titles, chivalric orders, distinctions and medals honoured by the Holy See, with the Pope as the fount of honour, for deeds and merits of their recipients to the benefit of the Holy See, the Catholic Church, or their respective communities.

Among the distinguished recipients were several with long connections to the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. They include Monsignor Martin Vallely, former HWCDSB trustee Marcel Levesque, and teachers Mario Bilich, Martin Sergelyes, Rocco Valeri, and Jose Cruz.

“It reminded me of the great resources we have in the Hamilton Catholic Board – promoting the best Catholic lifestyles among personnel and students alike,” said Bishop Crosby.

Congratulating the recipients on their special recognition, Chairperson Patrick Daly thanked them for their contributions to the Church and to the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

The following honours were conferred:

Monsignor Martin Vallely, “Chaplain of His Holiness”
Chaplain to His Holiness is a title of distinction given by the Pope in recognition of a priest's service to the Church. Monsignor Vallely was born in Hamilton and attended Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Elementary School. He was ordained in 1980 and was pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Stoney Creek from 2005 to 2015, where he ministered to several HWCDSB schools.

Marcel Levesque, “Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross”
The medal is awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church and the Pope. Marcel Levesque served as a French Language Trustee with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board from 1988 to 1998.

Bene Merenti Medals
The Benemerenti Medal is awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church. 2020 recipients included Mario Bilich, Martin Seregelyes, Rocco Valeri and Jose Cruz, all former or current teachers with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

“A cloud of witnesses continues to build up the local Church. It reveals something wonderful about the culture of the Board, for which I am sincerely grateful,” said the bishop.

The papal honours, conferred on the Feast of Christ the King, November 21, 2021, were delayed a year due to COVID-19.





Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Rocco Valeri. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Rocco Valeri. Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Msgr Martin Vallely. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Msgr Martin Vallely. Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Martin Seregelyes. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Martin Seregelyes. Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Mario BIlich. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Mario BIlich. Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Marcel Levesque. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Marcel Levesque. Photo: Hamilton Diocese

Jose Cruz. Photo: Hamilton Diocese
Jose Cruz. Photo: Hamilton Diocese