BY Ryan McDougall | November 9 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Bene Merenti awarded to SSVP stalwart for services to Wishaw parish

Bishop Toal presented Harry McCrossan with the medal following four decades working with the Society of St Vincent de Paul in St Thomas’ Church.

Pupils from St Thomas Primary in Wishaw were among those to celebrate the achievements of a faithful Church servant, as he was awarded a Bene Merenti medal on Sunday.

Harry McCrossan has spent the last four decades helping his fellow parishioners, working with the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and in St Thomas’ Church in Wishaw.

After many years of hard work, he received the unexpected, yet joyful news that he was to be presented with the medal by Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese in his home church.

Mr McCrossan unfortunately keeps poor health, but was overjoyed with the good news of his award, which marks all the good he has done for the parish, the local school and wider community.

Parish priest Fr Krzysztof Garwolinski and Deacon Henry McKenna joined the bishop for the momentous presentation, as well as the headteacher and a handful of pupils from St Thomas’ Primary, who Mr McCrossan has kindly helped out in various ways throughout his life.

“He’s over the moon,” his wife, May, said. “He’s quite quiet and wouldn’t really say too much about it though, but it was a lovely service.”

Mr and Mrs McCrossan have recently celebrated 51 years of marriage, and last year, for their 50th, they went on a special anniversary holiday.

“We’ve never really went on many holidays,” Mrs McCrossan explained. “But last year we went to Fatima for our anniversary, and the bishop gave us a blessing which was lovely.”

Explaining the extent of her husband’s kind endeavours, Mrs McCrossan said: “He’s been with the SSVP for 37 years now—it was them who put him forward for the award.

“For probably around 40 years, before he was even with the SSVP, he started taking people to Mass all the time, and he’s in lots of different committees and such within the church. He started fundraising years ago for various things, too.”

Bene Merenti medals are awarded through the Pope, who aims to show his recognition to a member of clergy or laity who have excelled in aiding the Church in some way or other.

The medal was first awarded by Pope Pius VI to recognise military merit, but was later extended to non-military members of the Church.

Reflecting on the whole experience, Mrs McCrossan said: “It’s fantastic really, it was just really out the blue and unexpected.

“As I say, he is quite a quiet person, so he won’t be shouting about it or anything; we’re not really like that.”

Mr McCrossan is pictured above with Bishop Toal, and the headteacher and pupils of St Thomas’ Primary School.

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