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Well Deserved Papal Honour For Helen Deane

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Well Deserved Papal Honour For Helen Deane thumbnailHelen Deane having just received the presentation of the Benemerenti Medal from Fr Ger  Jones Parish Adm, while Joe Whelan, Chairperson of the PPC, holds the Papal Certificate. MT19460JOC

HELEN Deane was presented with the Benemerenti Medal at the 11a.m. Mass in Cloughjordan Church on Sunday last, surrounded by family, friends and parishioners, in recognition of her loyal commitment and dedicated service over the years to the Church Choir of Ss Michael and John's Church, Cloughjordan.
The Benemerenti Medal and framed papal certificate were presented to Helen by Fr Ger Jones, Cloughjordan Parish Adm. and Joe Whelan, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council. In his homily Fr Ger said how appropriate it was that Helen should receive this honour on Vocation Sunday - a day when we are all challenged to examine how we answer the call to use our gifts and talents. Fr Ger went on to explain that Helen is an inspiration to us all, in how she has used and still continues to use her gift of music and song, to serve the community and others further afield, and to bring joy and laughter into people's lives.
The Benemerenti Medal is a special honour awarded by the Pope to people in recognition of their committed service to the Church. It was first awarded by Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) to recognise military merit. In 1925, the concept of awarding the medal to people not engaged in military service became acceptable.
The Chairperson of the PPC, Joe Whelan gave an account of Helen's long and committed service to Cloughjordan Church Choir, explaining that having joined as a 12 year old, she has given almost 40 years devoted and dedicated service. She took some years sabbatical while rearing her children.
Her infectious enthusiasm and unwavering commitment kept the choir flourishing through the decades. The highlight of her time as choir lead singer was when Cloughjordan led the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine in July 1988.
In more recent years, Dom Richard, Abbot of Mount St Joseph Abbey Roscrea, called on her services as a lead singer at the Cluster Liturgical Services and Helen never failed to oblige with her customary warmth and zeal. At times of bereavement in the parish, Helen liaised sensitively with families in the preparation of funeral liturgies which was much appreciated by the bereaved.
Helen was always anxious and willing to share her musical talent with other parishes in the Diocese and made valuable contributions to Liturgical Gatherings in Borrisokane, Terryglass, Shinrone, Moneygall and Lorrha among others.
In addition to giving loyal and lengthy service to Cloughjordan choir and community, Helen could also be found singing in many parts of North Tipperary, South Offaly and further afield at weddings and funerals and also assisting numerous organisations and charities in fundraising ventures. Over a number of years, she was particularly pro-active in raising money for the Irish Heart Foundation. Helen is a founder member of the Cloughjordan Active Retirement Association spearheading the many and varied activities of this progressive group with typical persistence and perseverance, and leading the singing sessions on the bus trips and elsewhere. Not only was Helen an inspirational leader of the choir, but she is also appreciated and well known for her kindness, generosity and caring nature.
Helen's choir colleagues from the three areas of the parish - Ardcroney, Kilruane and Cloughjordan - who have sung with her over the years on many occasions, were more than happy to come together and sing in thanksgiving, celebration and support of Helen on this wonderful day. The large choir was directed by Anne Heffernan, with organ accompanist Mary O'Meara, and instrumentalists Ann Spain (violin) and Frances Ryan (tin whistle).
Special solo pieces were beautifully played on the violin by Helen's grandson Jack O'Meara during the Offertory and after the Presentation.
Six choir members from Cloughjordan who have soldiered along with Helen and sung with her over the years were also honoured for their loyalty and dedication. Certificates of appreciation in recognition of longstanding service and loyal commitment to Cloughjordan Choir were presented to Bernie Banaghan, Margaret Cooney, Maura Grace, Bawney Hayes, Billy Sheppard and Tom Williams.

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