Pope recognises Sidmouth man for his service

Peter McGauley was thrilled to receive the award. Picture: Julian Shaw LRPS

Peter McGauley was thrilled to receive the award. Picture: Julian Shaw LRPS - Credit: Archant

The Pope has recognised a Sidmouth man for his distinguished service to the Catholic Church.

Sidmouth resident, Peter McGauley, has been awarded the Papal Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, which was presented to him by Bishop Mark O’Toole, of Plymouth, in March.

The award is the highest medal that can be given by the Pope.

Mr McGauley has served on the altar, as a church master of ceremonies and a councillor.

When he moved to Sidmouth, 30 years ago, he joined the parish council, becoming chairman and joining the finance committee.

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He has been a trustee of the Diocese for the last 11 years and is part of the Diocesan Finance Committee.

Mr McGauley is also a Eucharistic Minister, a reader, and is currently president of the Exeter Circle of the Catenian Association (the Catholic version of Rotary), a founder trustee of Sid Valley HELP, founder president of the newly formed St Vincent de Paul Society and in this organisation is currently organising a telephoning rota for contacting more than 100 people during the Covid-19 pandemic to see if they are alright.

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Mr McGauley said: “I was completely overcome when our parish priest, Fr Paul Cummins asked to speak to me during a parish event.

“I just presumed it was something to do with parish finance, then he told me that Pope Francis had awarded me the Papal Cross, ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ - for the church and for the Pope.

“I was completely overcome at such a prestigious honour being given to me and became quite emotional...

“ I have been very fortunate in all my endeavours to have been fully supported by my wife Jill, who in my view shares in the award.”

Mrs McGauley added: “I am so proud of Peter. We have been married 43 years and during that time, Peter has always cared for others and loved his church.

“He thrives on trying to help other people and setting up and helping with new initiatives, always with an eye to his immensely strong faith and how it can be worked with and relied upon to help and support others...

“He just never stops! He is my world, but I am so happy and proud to share him with so very many wonderful groups and caring causes.”

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