Pope Francis has bestowed on a prominent member of the Catholic, Indian and business communities ‘The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ (‘For Church and Pope’) Decoration, an award of the Roman Catholic Church.
Wenceslaus Anthony, a devout Catholic, Chairman of the Divine Retreat Centre of New Zealand and Chairman of Indian Newslink Community Fund has been chosen for the highest Award for distinguished service to the Church.
It is also the highest Medal that can be awarded to the laity by the Pope.
Decoration of Honour
Known as the ‘Decoration of Honour,’ it is a Medal established by Leo XIII on July 17, 1888, to commemorate his Golden Sacerdotal Jubilee bestowed at that time on those men and women who had aided and promoted the Jubilee, and by other means assisted in making the Jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful. It was awarded in Gold, Silver and Bronze.
The current version is awarded in Gold. The obverse depicts the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul. On the left arm of the cross is the inscription ‘Pro Ecclesia’ (‘For Church’), on the right arm of the cross is ‘Et Pontifice’ (And Pope).
At the point of the top arm of the cross is the Coat of Arms of the reigning Pope. At the points of the other arms are small Greek Crosses. Below the depiction of the Saints is the Latin name of the Pope. The reverse depicts a Greek Cross.
The Recommending Group
Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn led a small group of people who recommended Mr
Anthony for the Award. Among them were Father Sebastian Fernandes, (Provisional Delegate for the Capuchins in New Zealand and Parish Priest of Henderson, Venkat Raman (Editor and General Manager of Indian Newslink) and Kerry Coleman (former General Manager of the Catholic Diocese of Auckland).
Servant of Servants
The services of Mr Anthony to the Roman Catholic Church and the young Catholics have been a source of inspiration for people of all ages, including those of other faiths. He considers himself a ‘Servant of Servants,’ in the true Christian spirit. He is the Chairperson of the Divine Retreat Centre Movement in New Zealand and Advisor to the Vailankanni Committee to celebrate the feast of the Birthday of Mother Mary (on September 8) and Director of Conquest Club, which aims to shape the character and personality of young boys in the 8-14 age group.
He has worked very closely with the late Mother Teresa and has had a personal audience with His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II. He is the Chairman of the Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee established in Auckland in 2010.
A Two-Page Special Report appears under CommunityLink in this issue.
- Wenceslaus Anthony (Picture by Ashok Kochhar)
- The Medal