Cardinal Brady confers Papal award of the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice – ‘for the Church and the Pontiff’ – to Mr Joe Fallon

28 May 2012

Cardinal Brady confers Papal award of the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice – ‘for the Church and the Pontiff’ – to Mr Joe Fallon

The following text was delivered this afternoon in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, as he conferred the Papal award of the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice – ‘for the Church and the Pontiff’ to Mr Joe Fallon:

Today it is my pleasure on behalf of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, to confer the Papal award of the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice – for the Church and the Pontiff – to a very special person who has represented the Irish Episcopal Conference on the Catholic Healthcare Commission for the past eight years.

Born in 1942, Joe joined the Permanent Defence Forces and was commissioned as a young Second Lieutenant in 1962. He was posted to serve with the United Nations in Cyprus in 1967.  From December 1973 to December 1975 he served as a UN delegate to the Military Working Group of the Middle East Peace Conference on the Middle East which was co-hosted by the USA and the USSR. Main meetings took place in Geneva and follow up meetings took place in Egypt, Israel and Syria. Then from September to December 1975 he was Military Assistant to the newly appointed Chief Co-ordinator of UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Middle East.  So before retiring in 1989, Joe had a distinguished military career – especially in peacekeeping. Indeed, as a mark of his outstanding service in the Middle East, the Government of Ireland awarded Joe the Distinguished Service  Medal – awarded for outstanding service to but a few. 5.  But since his retirement from the Defence Forces in 1989, Mr Joe Fallon has given of himself, his talents and his time, in the service of the Church, of religion and of  healthcare and especially with the intellectually disabled and also, with Saint Francis Hospice.  In 1989,  on his retirement from the Defence Forces,  he was appointed Director of Services for the Daughters of Charity Service in Ireland, for Persons with an Intellectual Disability.  Then from 1989-2012 he served as a Trustee, Director and Company Secretary to the newly established Saint Francis Hospice Raheny.

Between 1996 and 2000  Joe was appointed by the Minister for Health to the National Rehabilitation Board. Then in October 2000 he retired as Director of Services, Daughters of Charity Services but was also appointed a member that same year,  of the newly formed Eastern Regional Health Authority and of the Northern and Western Health Boards of the ERHA.   In 2000, he was appointed a member of the board of management of the Daughter of Charity Services for Persons with an Intellectual Disability.  During the same year Joe served as a member of the Board of Management of the Moore Abbey services for Persons with an Intellectual Disability.  From 2002-2008 he served as Chairman of the Board of Management of Saint Anne’s (Roscrea) services  for Persons with an Intellectual Disability.  Then from 2004-2012 Joe was a member of the Catholic Healthcare Commission on behalf of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.

Throughout your time on the Catholic Healthcare Commission you brought those principles which are your hallmark and which society needs so much today and the Church values and treasures – integrity, loyalty and devotion to duty.  I know that you served – particularly in these last few years – as Chair of that Joint  Commission and brought many valuable insights and guidance to that difficult and challenging work, and you helped in no small way to see the members and that Commission,  through difficult and challenging times.

The Church is most grateful to you and wants to show its appreciation, so, Pope Benedict XVI, on the recommendation of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, wishes to bestow upon you this medal which is a mark of immense gratitude for the outstanding service you have given to the Church, to the Catholic faith and to healthcare.  Founded by Pope Leo XIII on 17 July, 1888, this Cross was intended as a mark of honour. Today, this award is rarely given and is only bestowed on a person who in the eyes of the Christian community, is deserving of such recognition because of their service to the Church and to the Holy Father.  How fitting it is that on this beautiful Cross which I now bestow are engraved the images of the two greatest Apostles in the Church – Saint Peter and Saint Paul – and on the other side a gold Greek cross which will always be a reminder of your own love for Jesus who died on the cross to redeem and save all humankind.  So, this afternoon, it is with pleasure that I present the award of this Cross to Joe Fallon precisely for his service to the Church and to the Holy Father as represented by the bishops.

Finally while I know your first wife Marguerite died in 1983 unexpectedly of hepatitis, I know that you got married again last year and we all wish you and Anne, many blessings and happiness during these years of your retirement.


Notes to Editors

•    Photographs are available from Mr John McElroy 00353 (0) 87 421 6985
•    The medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice was instituted by Pope Leo XIII (17 July, 1888, “Quod Singulari”) in memory of his golden sacerdotal jubilee, and bestowed on those women and men who had merited well by aiding and promoting, and by other excellent ways and means assisted in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful. This decoration was made a permanent distinction only in October, 1898.  Its object is to reward those who in a general way deserve well of the Pope on account of services done for the Church and its head. The medal is of gold, silver or bronze. The decoration is not subject to chancery fees. The medal is a cross made octangular in form by fleurs-de-lis fixed in the angles of the cross in a special manner. The extremities of the cross are of a slightly patonce form. In the centre of the cross is a small medal with an image of its founder, and encircling the image are the words LEO XIII P. M. ANNO X (tenth year of his pontificate). On the obverse side are the papal emblems in the centre, and in the circle surrounding the emblems the motto PRO DEO ET PONTIFICE is stamped. On the obverse surface of the branches of the cross are comets — which with the fleurs-de-lis form the coat of arms of the Pecci family. On the reverse side are stamped the words, PRIDIE (left branch); KAL. (top branch); JANUAR. (right branch); 1888 (at the foot). The ribbon is purple, with delicate lines of white and yellow on each border. The decoration is worn on the right side of breast.

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