Donna Farrell, the former communications director for the Philadelphia Archdiocese and Richard V. McCarron, former archdiocesan secretary of Catholic education, both received papal recognition at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput June 2 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
The honors were among the last acts of Pope Benedict XVI before he resigned the papacy last February. Archbishop Chaput conferred the honors personally to the two recipients during the Mass, attended by their families and friends.
McCarron was advanced to the rank of Knight Commander in the Order of St. Gregory the Great, which is one of the highest honors the holy father can bestow on an individual. He was previously appointed to the order in 1998 by Pope John Paul II.
Before his retirement early this year, McCarron 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 retirement early this year capped a career of more than 40 years as a teacher and administrator in Catholic education.
Farrell was given the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, the first lay person to receive the honor since 2003.
It is given to Catholics who have shown distinguished service to the Church and to the pope. Currently the Manager of External Affairs for Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia, Farrell began working for the archdiocese in 1998 and served as the director of communications from 2005-2012.
During her tenure she devoted countless hours to managing internal communications and media relations surrounding many of the largest challenges the Archdiocese has ever faced. Her work also highlighted the good works of the local Church and promoted Catholic values and teachings.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: 15 men ordained deacons at Cathedral
NEXT: Parish-to-parish procession celebrates the Eucharist in Bucks County
Share this story