BY Ryan McDougall | July 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

7 joyce

Long-serving PA to Aberdeen bishops retires with a papal award

The ‘right-hand woman’ to three bishops received a papal award as she retired after two decades of dedicated service to Aberdeen Diocese.

Joyce Webster has served in a number of roles over the last 20 years, including as personal assistant to Bishop Hugh Gilbert and his predecessors.


Papal honour

At a thanksgiving Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, on Monday July 1, she was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Mrs Webster said she had ‘not yet come back down to Earth’ following the honour.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti of Glasgow, who had also been bishop of Aberdeen, and was attended by Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran of Aberdeen as well as the depute lord provost of the city and local school pupils.


Bishop’s thanks

Bishop Gilbert, who Mrs Webster has worked with for the eight years he has been bishop, said: “We live in famously unstable times, so many people uprooted and unsettled at so many levels, so much changing.

“Joyce, you’ve been a refreshing contrast. So stable. Always calm, always equable—in eight years I’ve seen you flustered one-and-a-half times; always dependable, always sensible, always helpful, always making peace, always open, too. Such a secure point of reference. Full of memories, but not a slave to them. Very patient with me, I must say.”


‘blessed’ with friendship

He added: “Many people are blessed to call you a friend, Joyce. So, thank you. All of us here are saying that, priests and bishops and laity, friends and colleagues and family.”

Mrs Webster said: “These have been very happy years, in which I have made good friends. I will certainly miss the everyday involvement with the clergy, parishes and agencies in the diocese and beyond, as well as the civic and ecumenical groups. It has been a privilege.

“I must also mention my husband, Gordon, my support system, his unfailing help has made so many events possible.”

Speaking at the Mass, she added: “When asked ‘what will you do now?’ my answer has been ‘we will continue to live by our motto, which came from the homily at our wedding: today is the first day of the rest of your life, and we will do what we want, when we want. God willing.”

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