A priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has received an international honor for his devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.
The Pauline Fathers and Brothers inducted Reverend G. Dennis Gill into the Pauline Confraternity on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at their National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown.
The honor is given to certain men and women, both clergy and lay, designating them as friends of the religious order, which was founded in Poland in the 13th century.
Over the centuries notable members of the confraternity have included the 15th century Polish prince St. Casimir, 20th century prelates including Cardinals John Krol of Philadelphia, Francis George of Chicago and Blessed Stefan Wyszynski of Poland, and retired Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali.
In addition, kings, church leaders, civic officials, and ordinary citizens of various countries have been named members of the confraternity.
Father Gill, ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1983, is currently rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, and director of the Office for Divine Worship in the archdiocese.
He also teaches courses on sacred liturgy at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, offers lectures on the topic across the United States, and has authored two books on the celebration of the liturgy.
He is considered by the Pauline Fathers as a “venerator,” or devotee, of Mary and “an outstanding friend” of the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, according to the order.
For his part, Father Gill is “deeply honored to be received into the Pauline Confraternity,” he said in a statement to CatholicPhilly.
“I have known and admired the Pauline Fathers and Brothers since I was a seminarian and have enjoyed countless visits for many occasions over the years to the Shrine of our Lady of Czestochowa.”
While the honor surprised Father Gill, he is grateful to the Paulines “for their recognition of my love for Our Blessed Mother. Mary leads us to Christ and helps us to be faithful to him,” he said.
He expressed his “great thanks to the Pauline Fathers and Brothers for their gift of the consecrated life to all of us and also their pastoral efforts to make Christ known through their many works at the shrine in Doylestown and all over the world.”
While they also minister in seven parishes and monasteries in the United States, the Paulines join numerous religious orders of men and women in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia devoting themselves to prayer and pastoral ministry.
In particular, since its founding in the 1950s, the Bucks County shrine has remained a popular place for religious pilgrimage by the faithful, and not only those of Polish heritage.
The Pauline Fathers and Brothers are stewards of the famous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland, known as the Black Madonna for the dark coloration of Mary and the infant Jesus depicted.
A faithful copy of the icon, blessed by Pope St. John XXIII and residing in Doylestown since 1951, was signed by Pope St. John Paul II in 1980.
The icon remains the culmination of a visit to the shrine by thousands of pilgrims each year.
Learn more about the shrine at Czestochowa.us.
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