By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
A few months ago, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel of Evansville wrote to Archbishop Christoph Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., nominating “a humble man of deep faith and of the Church” for the prestigious Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice honor, given by Pope Francis to clergy and laity for service to the Church.
During a Sept. 15 Mass in the Sarto Retreat Center Chapel in Evansville, Bishop Siegel presented the honor to former diocesan Chancellor/COO Tim McGuire, who retired in early May.
Bishop Siegel shared his letter to Archbishop Pierre with Tim, his family and the scores of former coworkers who filled the Sarto Chapel to near capacity for the Mass.
The bishop explained that Tim had served three different bishops of Evansville over his 15 years, including Bishop-Emeritus Gerald A. Gettelfinger; and now-Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson; and himself. He said that Tim’s assistance and commitment to him and to the diocese was indispensable, adding that Tim and his work clearly had a positive impact across our 12 counties.
After Mass, Tim said, “I am very honored and humbled that Bishop Siegel nominated me for this honor. I believe there are many other people across our diocese who are more worthy of this recognition.”
During the lunch that followed Mass, Tim again thanked the bishop for nominating him, and for his support. He said, “Bishop Siegel talked about the support and assistance he received from me. I can whole-heartedly say the same thing about him. I am truly grateful to have worked for and with him.”
Tim added, “I also have to thank my father Charles because it all begins with him. Everything I learned, I learned from him. I also want to thank Lisa, my wife, for her unfailing support and love; and our children, daughter Kasey Byrley and her husband David, and son Ryan and his wife Jett, who have been with us throughout this journey.
“I am truly blessed.”
About the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice
The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice – meaning For Church and Pope in Latin – is an honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Church.
The medal was instituted in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII to commemorate his golden sacerdotal jubilee. It was bestowed on those who had merited well by assisting in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful. This decoration was made a permanent distinction in October 1898. It is usually awarded to reward those who, in a general way, deserve recognition from the Pope for services done for the Church and its head.
The medal is made of gold in the shape of a cross. Its obverse is engraved with an image depicting the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. On the left arm of the cross is the inscription Pro Ecclesia (For Church), and on the right arm of the cross is Et Pontifice (And Pope). At the point of the top arm of the cross is the coat of arms of the reigning Pope. At the points of the other arms are small Greek crosses. Below the depiction of the Saints is the Latin name of the reigning Pope. The reverse depicts a Greek cross. The medal is attached to a ribbon in the colours of the Vatican, yellow and white, and attached to a gold pin. The decoration is to be worn on the right side of the breast.