Ger’s 40 years of dedication to the community marked with Papal Award
A top Papal honour was bestowed on a well-known Wexford parishioner at this year's Festival Mass in Bride Street church on Sunday.
Ger Lawlor, who is also the Festival Opera Chairman, was presented with a Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice honour by Bishop Denis Brennan, as a tribute to his 40 years of work as an organist and choirmaster in Bride Street Church and the parish of Wexford.
As is the norm, the Mass featured soloists from the Opera Festival, as well as Andrew Johnstone on the organ, and Wexford singer Roisin Dempsey. Readings and Prayers of the Faithful were read by members of the local community, including Sr Peter, the Reverend Mother in the Adoration Convent who Mr Lawlor would have worked closely with in the past. Mr Lawlor's daughter Catriona, and sons Cillian and Fintan, brought up the gifts.
Bishop Brennan, the chief celebrant, spoke about Mr Lawlor's commitment to the community over the past 40 years, in the parish and at the Opera Festival. The award, in the form of a medal and framed certificate, was then presented, along with a Latin scroll giving details of the award.
Ger Lawlor grew up in Clifford Street, almost in the shadow of Bride Street Church. As well as his wife Laura, daughter and sons, he was joined at Sunday's celebrations by his brother Mick, sister in law Lynda and their daughters, along with other relatives and friends.
Mr Lawlor said: 'I was very moved by the occasion. I didn't know I'd been put forward for the award. I was genuinely touched by the amount of people who congratulated me afterwards in the theatre as well.'
He added that the occasion was as much a 'Bride Street' one as a Festival one. The group enjoyed lunch and refreshments afterwards in the Presbytery.
The occasion was tinged with sadness yesterday (Monday) morning as news emerged of the passing of Fr Aodhan Marken's father, Gerry.
Mr Lawlor said: 'We were heartbroken when we heard the news on Monday morning. Fr Marken was the one who actually applied for me to receive the award so we went from the joy of Sunday's event to the devastation of such a loss the next day. I, on behalf of my family, would like to offer our sincerest sympathies to Fr Aodhan and his family on their very sad and sudden loss.'