Four Erie Sisters to Receive Papal Cross (Erie /Americas)
Pope Benedict XVI has named four sisters from the Mercy Regional Community of Erie, Pa., to receive the Papal Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and Pope).They are Sisters Rita Marie Hettish, Rita Kartavich, Mary Mark McCarthy and Mary Louis Oslick.
They will receive their papal honors Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at St. Peter Cathedral, Erie, from Cardinal Justin F. Rigali of Philadelphia, who will preside. Erie Bishop Donald W. Trautman also will attend. In all, 62 people will receive papal honors.
In a letter informing each sister of their honor, Bishop Trautman extended his congratulations and gratitude for their work in serving the Catholic Church.
“This recognition comes as a result of your commitment to the Catholic faith, your exemplary life as a vowed religious and your dedication to the work of the Church and the spread of the Gospel,” the bishop wrote.
Sister Bernadette Bell, president of the Regional Community of Erie, said the papal recognition is twofold.
“This is an honor for both the Mercy community and the sisters recognized by the Holy Father for their service. For those of us in Mercy ministries, it is a call to renew our commitment to build the kingdom of God where we live, work and worship,” she said.
The Papal Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice is bestowed by the pope to either the laity, vowed religious or clergy. Recipients are honored for their extraordinary and exemplary public witness to the Catholic faith. The honor was created by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
Sister Rita is director of outreach at DuBois Regional Medical Center, DuBois, Pa., and a councilor for the Leadership Team of the Regional Community of Erie. Sisters Rita Marie and Mary Louis retired in June as teachers at St. George School, Erie, after teaching in Catholic schools for nearly a combined 100 years. Sister Mary Mark is the retired director of religious education at St. Peter Cathedral Center, Erie.
Messages to Gary Loncki Director Mercy Communications Erie