“We wanted to honor Theresa for her outstanding years of service and Bob Munn, who has been in the choir for over 50 years. The Holy Father has deemed this year as the Year of Faith, and I wanted to acknowledge the generosity of the people of the choir. Most of our choir members have been in for many years, some decades. Some have been in there 20, 30 and 40 years. I wanted to honor all of them for their faithfulness to the parish. So, I petitioned the Holy See to ask the Holy Father to impart his blessing upon the whole choir.”
The Rev. Douglas Lucia served as the pastor of St. John’s from 1992 to 1995 and well-remembers Munn and Hammett.
“Both of them served so well,” said Lucia, who is pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Canton and serves as the episcopal vicar for worship and priestly formation at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg.
“I remember both of them being especially involved in the choir. They well-deserve those blessings.”
A papal blessing is given as a sign of esteem for a person’s service in the church, as in the case of Munn and Hammett.
“They are given for different occasions,” Lucia said. “A marrying couple could receive a papal blessing, or a couple celebrating a significant anniversary. They are given to parishes or a priest for a significant anniversary.”
Usually the person’s name is submitted to the Holy See or Vatican.
“It’s accompanied by a letter from the local parish priest asking the Holy Father to give a special blessing to pray in a particular way for this person because of the service they’ve given to the church,” Lucia said.
“It’s given as a sign of distinction to celebrate a special occasion. It’s really a gift of prayer asking God to bless that person for their service.”
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