A Dundee grandmother has been recognised for her devoted service to the Catholic church with a medal from Pope Francis.
Anne Kelly, who visits members of her congregation when they are unwell and unable to attend Mass, was presented the Benemerenti medal by Reverend Mark Cassidy at St Mary’s The Immaculate Conception in Lochee.
The 81-year-old is so devoted to her church she set up a Facebook account during lockdown to watch weekly Mass livestreams.
A small service with Anne’s family and members of the congregation was held on December 3 to celebrate the papal decoration, which includes a medal and certificate, being awarded.
Retired senior charge nurse Anne said: “I’m absolutely delighted and I’m quite humbled by the honour.
“I was very surprised, I only heard about it the day before it was given to me.
“It was such a lovely day, especially to have my family there and the family community of Lochee.”
The grandmother of 15 and great-grandmother of two was nominated by parishioners in recognition of her 35-year service to the church.
As a Eucharistic Minister, Anne assists the priest in administering the sacraments of holy communion and leads the parish council.
She also regularly visits unwell parishioners after weekly Mass and organises the congregation’s annual Christmas party.
During her service, Reverend Cassidy said Anne was recognised not only for service to the church, but for her efforts to enable and empower others to fulfil their own mission.
During lockdown she has been keeping busy by watching virtual Mass services and taking part in online exercise classes every morning.
Anne added: “It was awful when we couldn’t go but Father Mark has been streaming the Mass on Sunday morning which is lovely.
“I’ve been keeping busy with exercises every morning, prancing round my kitchen.
“It’s not quite the same online but it keeps me going.”
The Benemerenti Medal was originally established as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army and was first awarded by Pope Pius VI in 1831.
It was later extended and in 1925 it became concept to award the medal as a mark of recognition to anyone in the clergy and laity for services to the church.
Only a handful are awarded each year and it remains a high honour.