9-September-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Catholic schools superintendent awarded papal honors

Pope Benedict XVI has named Mary E. Rochford, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former schools superintendent, to the pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great, one of the highest honors for a lay Catholic.

Rochford told CatholicPhilly.com she was "shocked" to hear of the honor.

"It's a proud moment for me and my family," she said.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia announced the honor Sept. 6.

"Mary, you are a source of great pride for our archdiocese," he said. "Thank you for your service to Jesus Christ and his Church. You honor us all."

Pope Gregory XVI founded the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1831 to honor the 6th-century Pope and saint Gregory the Great. Since the order's founding, Popes have awarded the honor to diplomats, artists, composers, scholars, scientists, philanthropists, and political, military and economic leaders. It is intended to honor those who have shown "extraordinary love for Jesus Christ and his Church," the Philadelphia archdiocese said.

In response to the award, Rochford advised to teachers to show what they teach in their lives. "You work as hard as you can and know that God is there in all of it," she said.

The order is one of the five pontifical knightly orders. It requires no obligations of its members.

Rochford submitted her resignation as superintendent in March 2012 to devote time to care for members of her family who could not care for themselves. She had served as superintendent since 2008 and worked in the archdiocese's Office of Catholic Education since 1999.

Before joining the education office, she had worked as a Catholic school teacher and administrator for over 25 years. She herself graduated from a Catholic elementary and high school in the archdiocese.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6121#ixzz265vt9tvp



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