The Rev. Frank Palmieri, pastor of St. Anne-St. Jude Parish in Sumter, is one one of eight people on whom Papal Honors will be imparted at the 3 p.m. Vesper Service on Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad St., in Charleston, according to the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston. The honors come directly from Pope Francis.
Palmieri will be awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal (For Church and Pope) by Guglielmone on behalf of Pope Francis for distinguished service to the Church. The medal, awarded to lay people and clergy, is the highest honor that can be awarded to laity by the Pope, given in recognition for their living out their Catholic faith in service to the Church and the wider community.
Guglielmone said, "Father Palmieri has been extremely involved in promoting sacramental marriage and family life. He is receiving this honor due to his dedication to the Church and his many, many years of service to the diocese. His good work is worthy of this high honor from the Holy Father."
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 in honor of his golden jubilee. It became a permanent distinction in 1898. The gold medal is on a purple ribbon with white and yellow border lines and is worn on the right side of the chest.
The Catholic Diocese of Charleston comprises the entire state of South Carolina with Charleston as its See city. Founded in 1820 by Pope Pius VII, it is one of the oldest Catholic dioceses in the United States.
Also during Sunday's service, Guglielmone will bestow, on behalf of Pope Francis, several other honors. They include:
Order of St. Gregory
- Knight of St. Gregory - The Honorable Joseph P. Riley Jr, former Mayor of the City of Charleston; and
- Dame of St. Gregory - The Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court (retired).
Chaplain of His Holiness
- The Reverend James Le Blanc, pastor of St. Andrew's Parish and vicar for Family Life, with the title of Reverend Monsignor.
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross
- Reverend Nicholas Capetola, CRM, retired pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Goose Creek;
- Sister Pamela Smith, SS.C.M., Diocesan Secretary for Education; and
- Deacon Andre' Guillet, Diocesan Director of the Diaconate.
- Mrs. Kathy Schmugge - Diocesan Director of the Office of Family Life.
Bishop Guglielmone said Riley and Toal are receiving the honor because of their contributions to the community: "Their numerous years of public service have played a positive role in the evolution of our state. Both have been instrumental in inspiring and leading the residents of South Carolina."