A 62-year old businesswoman from Bataan province received from Pope Benedict XVI last weekend the Holy Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.
Milagros Faith Aquende Banzon was handed the gold medal by Bishop Ruperto Santos during a Mass on January 12 at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City.
“This is the highest award given by the Pope to a member of the laity for their contribution to the Catholic Church,” Santos said, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news site.
Mrs. Banzon became the first papal awardee in the diocese in 15 years after her husband Oscar Banzon received the same honor in 1997.
The CBCP also said Banzon has been active in various activities organized by the Diocese of Balanga.
The couple owns different businesses including hotels, restaurants, resorts and subdivisions in the province.
“All the achievements of our family came through God’s blessings,” she said as she asked herchildren to follow what they are doing for the Church.
Instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, the medal is bestowed to lay people and clergy who have given zealous and outstanding service to the Church through the recommendation of the local bishop, the CBCP said. - VVP, GMA News