by Fr Michael Dunne
At the Solemn Mass on Easter Sunday in Our Lady of Grace and St Edward the Confessor Church, Chiswick, our long-standing parishioner Joseph Carty was presented with the Diocesan Medal, in recognition and gratitude for decades of outstanding voluntary service.
In his personally signed citation awarding him this honour, Cardinal Vincent writes that ‘the Diocese recognises Joseph’s deep faith and voluntary service to the community as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Reader, transporting the elderly and infirm to and from Sunday Mass and the invaluable help he gives to the life of the Church in the parish and beyond’. His last phrase, certainly points to Joseph’s generosity beyond our parish church itself, but it cannot fully describe it, as such a contribution cannot of course be detailed on a certificate. Representatives from other parishes and diocesan communities and families, such as the Catholic Police Guild, the HCPT, or the Guild of St John Southworth at Westminster Cathedral, who were present on the day to see Joseph honoured, are indicative of his wider generosity.
The moment seemed right to recognise Joseph in this way now, both because of his generosity in itself but also because this particular expression of his goodness is, tragically but necessarily, going to have to change in the light of his recent diagnosis of motor neurone disease.
As for all of us, the expression of our faith, hope and love, is made from within the circumstances of our lives, and when these circumstances change, so must the expression of our discipleship, our following of Christ. As we honour Joseph and thank him for all he’s done for our parish and for the diocese for so many years, let us assure him of our prayers and support for the future as we also ask him to continue to pray for us. Joseph, thank you and congratulations!