The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that Pope Francis has bestowed Papal Honors upon 45 individuals for their dedication and exceptional service to the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia-2015 and the pastoral visit of the Holy Father to Philadelphia.

Two have been named Dame/Knight Grand Cross in the Order of St. Gregory the Great; 19 have been named Dame/Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great; eight will receive the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (Cross for the Church and Pontiff) and 16 will receive the Benemerenti Medal (To a Well Deserving Person).

The honors will be formally presented by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on Thursday, Nov. 17 at a 6:30 p.m. ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul immediately following the liturgy of the word.

“The Church, the City, and the people of Philadelphia achieved something astonishing last year,” Archbishop Chaput said in a statement. “No matter where I go, people from all walks of life still stop me to say that their experience with the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit was transformational in deeply positive ways.

“Our efforts were successful beyond expectation. The credit goes to many people from various faith traditions: civic and business leaders, a tireless staff, law enforcement, first responders, wonderful volunteers, generous donors, our clergy, men and women religious, and the lay faithful.

“Together they ensured that the World Meeting of Families would be the sign of hope God intended and that Pope Francis would see the very best of Philadelphia. The experience clearly moved the Holy Father as it did all of us. The work of those he’s chosen to recognize and the generous efforts of thousands of others made it all possible. It is a privilege for me to present these Papal Honors on his behalf.”

The highest awards were the rank of Dame/Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and are one of the highest honors that the pope can bestow.

Recipients were husband and wife, as is the case with most of the other Dames and Knights of St. Gregory, especially fitting because they are bestowed for service to the World Meeting of Families.

Those named to the Order Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

Mrs. Dorian Anderson and Mr. Carl Anderson. Carl Anderson serves as Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Through his office the Knights of Columbus provided various modes of support that were vital to the success of the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit.

Those Named Dame/Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great

Mrs. Kathy Ciaruffoli and Mr. Robert Ciaruffoli. Robert Ciaruffoli served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 President and Board Chairman and is the retired Chief Executive Officer of Baker Tilly LLC.

Mrs. Angela Clark and Mr. Richard Clark. Richard Clark served on the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet. He is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Merck and Company and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.

Mrs. Rhonda Cohen and Mr. David L. Cohen. David Cohen served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Chair and is the Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation.

Mrs. Ellen Hanway and Mr. H. Edward Hanway. Edward Hanway served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cigna Corporation.

Mrs. Kathy Fitzgerald and Mr. Ward Fitzgerald. Ward Fitzgerald served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Principal of Exeter Property Group.

Mrs. Lucille Francesco and Mr. Jerry Francesco. Jerry Francesco served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia. Mrs. Francesco served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member.

Mrs. Joan Hilferty and Mr. Daniel Hilferty. Daniel Hilferty served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Chair and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Independence Blue Cross.

Mrs. Frances Maguire and Mr. James Maguire. James Maguire served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Chair and is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corporation. Mrs. Maguire served WMOF- Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member.

Mrs. Jeanette Neubauer and Mr. Joseph Neubauer. Joseph Neubauer served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Chair and is the retired Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer for Aramark Corporation.

Mrs. Aileen Roberts and Mr. Brian L. Roberts. Brian Roberts served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Chair and is the Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation.

The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice

The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and Pontiff), 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.

Those Honored with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice

Mr. Gerry Cuddy. Gerry Cuddy served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Beneficial Bank.

Mr. Nicholas DeBenedictis. Nicholas DeBenedictis served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aqua America.

Mr. Eric Foss. Eric.Foss served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer for Aramark Corporation.

Mr. Chris Gheysens. Chris Gheysens served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Wawa Corporation.

Ms. Denise Morrison. Denise Morrison served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company.

Mr. John Stratton. John Stratton served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the Executive Vice President and President of Operations of Verizon Corporation.

Mr. Brian Tierney. Brian Tierney served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the Chief Executive Officer of Brian Communications.

Mr. Eustace Wolfington. Eustace Wolfington served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet Member and is the President of Cabrini Asset Management.

The Benemerenti Medal

The Benemerenti (To a Well-Deserved Person) Medal was created by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and was first awarded to soldiers in the papal army. The medal was later extended to members of the clergy and laity for exceptional service to the Roman Catholic Church.

Those Honored with the Benemerenti Medal

Reverend William G. Donovan. Father Donovan served as the Archbishop of Philadelphia’s Liaison to the Pontifical Council for Family for WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 and is the pastor of St. Agnes Parish, West Chester.

Mrs. Donna Crilley Farrell. Donna Farrell served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Executive Director and is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Independence Blue Cross.

Ms. Varsovia Fernandez. Varsovia Fernandez served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Board Member and is the Senior Vice President and Philadelphia Market Leader for Customers Bank.

Mr. Kenneth A. Gavin. Kenneth Gavin served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Co-Lead for Strategic Communications and Media Relations and is the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Eileen Kaiser and Mr. James Kaiser. James Kaiser served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Board Member and is a Member of the Global Assurance Executive Leadership Team and Chief Methodology Officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Ms. Margaret Kane. Margaret Kane served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Co-Lead for Strategic Communications and Media Relations and is a Senior Vice President at Brian Communications.

Mrs. Danielle Peyakovich McNichol. Danielle Peyakovich McNichol served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 General Counsel and Director of Human Resources and is General Counsel for Neumann University.

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda and Mr. Anthony Mirenda. Rosalie Mirenda served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Board Member and is the President of Neumann University.

Mrs. Susan Mita and Mr. Eustace Mita. Eustace Mita served as a WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Board Member and is the Chief Executive Officer of Achristavest and Chair of Mita Management.

Mr. Jack O’Brien. Jack O’Brien served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Director of Special Events and is the Senior Vice President, Food and Beverage, for SMG.

Mr. Timothy O’Shaughnessy. Timothy O’Shaughnessy served as a Special Advisor to WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 and is the Chief Financial Officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Mr. Christopher Roberts. Christopher Roberts served as the primary author and editor for the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Preparatory Catechesis, “Love is Our Mission — The Family Fully Alive,” and is the Co-Founder of Martin Saints Classical High School.

Dr. Mary Beth Yount. Mary Beth Yount served as the WMOF-Philadelphia 2015 Director of Content and Programming and is the Chair of the Theology Department at Neumann University.