Galway man awarded Pope’s medal for 20 years’ service
From this week's Galway City Tribune
Author: Our Reporter
~ 3 minutes read
From this week's Galway City Tribune
A special Bene Merenti medal from Pope Francis has been presented to a Galwayman for more than 20 years of service to the Catholic agency, Accord.
At a mass in Galway Cathedral, Bishop Michael Duignan presented the medal to Gerry Guinnane from Newcastle for his work with Accord, which provides counselling to families and marriages.
Concelebrating the Mass was Dean Michael McLoughlin, who is in a leadership role with Accord in Galway.
Just before the presentation Dean McLoughlin welcomed Gerry, his wife Catherine, and other family members to the event. He said that, through baptism, every Catholic has a vocation and Gerry had followed his through his teenage years and later marrying Catherine as part of a wonderful relationship and family life.
He said the special medal from the Pope was a compliment to Gerry, but it had to be also to Catherine as, without her happy support, he would not have been able to do all that he had done for Accord.
“Being part of Accord is a question of being there for others, there’s a great belief in the sacrament of marriage, that marriage is a wonderful gift, a wonderful vocation, and that those who are called to it are indeed blessed,” said Dean McLoughlin.
“Part of the work is to assist those preparing for marriage and to give them guidance as to their journey. That journey can have its ups and downs but which of us can say we continue in a straight line? In his many years with Accord Gerry found time to guide couples, to also assist couples having difficulties, to help them find within themselves the solution to situations they might find themselves in, to be with them on their journeys and to open up new possibilities for them.
“All of that is not easy, and you have to put the preparation in yourself, and Gerry did all of that, giving lots of time to listening and supporting people. In Accord you endeavour to help the person, help the relationship and help the marriage.
“You are working towards that as a marriage counsellor and, among you here tonight, if anyone has an inclination or a willingness to take part in that we would love to hear from you,” the Dean said.
He added that Gerry had progressed over the years to be a co-ordinator for Accord in Galway, chairing various committees and so on, and had also taken on a good deal of work nationally as well even though it was onerous, helping other Accord groupings throughout the country, encouraging and supporting them.
He thanked Gerry on behalf of Accord for his work, and congratulated him on achieving the Bene Merenti medal.
(Pictured after being presented with the Papal Bene Merenti medal at Galway Cathedral was Gerry Guinnane (on left) with his wife Catherine, sons Maurice and Patrick, grand-daughter Mila and Bishop Michael Duignan, who made the presentation).
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