Generosity of Salford parishioner honoured by Pope Francis

Saturday 4th January 2020

It’s been a big year for Salford diocese parishioner Brian Bennion, after we wrote about him being nominated for a Pride of Britain award.

On 15th December Bishop John celebrated Mass at Our Lady and St. Joseph’s parish, Heywood, and presented Brian Bennion with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Francis for services to CAFOD and the Developing World.

In 1976 Brian started at daily collection for CAFOD at St. Josephs High School, Heywood, where he taught. Pupils might simply put in a penny or two left over from their school dinners. He has continued that daily collection as the school has become Holy Family RC and CE College.

Over the years he has raised more than £45,000 from the students and their families. He also continues to chair the school’s Developing World Group and the parish Developing World Group.

Ten years ago he visited St. Paul’s parish, Yola, which was twinned with St. Joseph’s, Heywood, to see educational, agricultural and health-care projects for himself.

Our Lady and St. Joseph’s parish also supports anti-trafficking work undertaken by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, who is based in Tirana, Albania.

You can watch a video about Brian’s Pride of Britain nomination here on ITV Granada 

Brian Bennion brought her work to the parish’s attention following his visit to her in Albania. At the end of Mass on Sunday Sr. Imelda spoke to Bishop John and the parishioners about the scale of human trafficking and modern day slavery today (47,000,000 victims worldwide at the moment) and the reality of modern slavery in our own communities and neighbourhoods. Our Lady and St. Joseph’s parish is proud to support her work and is seeking ways to develop local responses.

We send our thanks and prayers to Brian for his service and commitment over the years

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