IN HER speech after receiving the Benemerenti medal Anna Cullinane said she was honoured but felt she didn’t deserve it.
But that is exactly what the Papal honour is for - to celebrate humble men and women like Mrs Cullinae who have given unstinting service to the church. Originally from Casteliney in Tipperary, she was sacristan in St Paul’s Parish, Dooradoyle, for 30 years. Dean of the Diocese of Limerick, Rev Anthony Mullins, presented Mrs Cullinane with the Papal Honour. His Holiness Pope Francis awarded the Benemerenti medal in appreciation of her many years of faithful and outstanding service.
The esteem that Mrs Cullinane is held in was shown by the large attendance.
The ceremony was attended by Rev John Leonard PP, Fr Noel Murphy, and Rev Canon James Neville, who was parish priest in St Paul’s when she commenced her service. She also served with Rev Frank Moriarty, Adare, and Rev Eugene Boyce, Croagh Kilfinny, who sent their best wishes.
The special occasion was attended by Anna’s husband Michael, Bruff, and daughter Marie Therése. Another daughter Majella and family, who live in New Zealand, sent their regards. Many members of her family from Tipperary including twin brother Paddy, sister Noreen and their families attended. After the Mass and award ceremony, Mrs Cullinane, family and friends were escorted by piper Terence Andrews to St Paul’s School for a parish reception.
Chairperson of St Paul’s Parish Pastoral Council, Anne Gabbett, presented Mrs Cullinane with a thank you card and cheque on behalf of parishioners. Fr Leonard thanked her for being “such a wonderful sacristan for the past thirty years” and wished her every blessing on her retirement. New sacristan, Kathleen Dullea, presented a bouquet of flowers. A gift and flowers were also presented by representatives of the Indian Syro Malabar Faith community.