Priests and Laity Receive Papal Honors for Service to the Church in West Virginia

Martina Hart Photo Bishop Michael J. Bransfield is pictured with those who received papal honors following his celebration of Mass at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston March 10. From left are Very Rev. Paul Wharton, V.F., pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley, and Very Rev. Donald X. Higgs, Assoc. V.F., rector of the basilica co-cathedral, who received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal; Bishop Bransfield; Msgr. Dean Borgmeyer, V.F., pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Huntington, who was named a chaplain to his holiness; Richard Preservati, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Princeton, who was named a knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great; and Matthew Bowles, a member of St. Agnes Parish in Charleston and a member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities West Virginia, who received the Benemerenti Medal.

By Colleen Rowan and Martina Hart Three priests and 11 laity from across West Virginia received papal honors at Masses celebrated by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield in Wheeling and Charleston. Each were nominated for the honors by Bishop Bransfield for their service to the church in West Virginia. The bishop bestowed the honors first during Mass at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston March 10, in celebration of Msgr. Dean Borgmeyer, V.F., pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Huntington, being named a chaplain to his holiness; Very Rev. Paul Wharton, V.F., pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley, and Very Rev. Donald X. Higgs, Assoc. V.F., rector of the basilica co-cathedral, as recipients of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal; Richard Preservati, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Princeton, who was named a knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great; and Matthew Bowles, a member of St. Agnes Parish in Charleston and former president of and current member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities West Virginia, who received the Benemerenti Medal. A week later, the bishop celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling March 17 for honorees: Ronald Violi, chief executive officer of Wheeling Hospital, and Robert Fitzsimmons, an attorney and member of Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling, who were named knights of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great; and Jim and Linda Bordas, attorneys and members of St. Michael Parish in Wheeling, attorney James Gardill of St. Jude Parish in Glen Dale, Bernard Twigg of St. Jude’s, Robert and Jody Contraguerro of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling, and Dr. Judith Romano of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling who all received the Benemerenti Medal.

 

See full story in the March 23 issue

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