Papal Award for Church Journalist, teacher and youth worker

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(L-R) Andrew Mitchell, Anne Mitchell and Bishop Stephen Robson. (PHOTO Courtesy of Lyndsey Christie, Perth)

Bishop Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld, presented the ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ Medal to Mr Andrew Mitchell at the end of Mass in St John the Baptist’s RC Church, Perth, on Sunday 6th August.
The Papal Medal, also known as the ‘Cross of Honour’, is the highest that can be awarded by the Pope to a lay person for distinguished service in the Church.

Bishop Stephen cited Mr Mitchell’s dedicated career as a teacher firstly, at Lawside Academy, Dundee, then for over 30 years at St Columba’s High School, Perth. In addition to his work in the classroom he led many school excursions including pilgrimages to Iona, Whithorn and Rome as well as the Papal Masses at Murrayfield (1982) and Bellahouston (2010). Even after his retirement the trips to Iona and abroad continue through his work with St John’s Academy, Perth, the parish youth group, and with the diocesan youth team.

Says Bishop Stephen, “His work in spreading the Good News of the Gospel can be seen in so many different ways. As the editor of the diocesan newspaper, Dunkeld News, for over 25 years he has covered parish events from across the whole diocese with his reports and photographs. In 1997 he pioneered the Scottish Catholic church’s web presence and continues to sustain this through diocesan and parish websites and social media.”

A parish organist for over 35 years, in Crieff and Perth, Andrew regularly swaps between the musical keyboard and a computer one from where he updates various church websites and publishes weekly church newsletters in Perth.

Receiving the medal, Mr Mitchell said, “This is truly an honour for the whole parish community. Everything I have been credited with reflects strongly on the dedication and commitment of the families and individuals within the Catholic community and beyond. The role of the church journalist is to hold a mirror to the great efforts of others as they carry out their charitable works. The work of a teacher depends so much on the support of the parents who are the primary educators of their children. It has been the greatest privilege to see these efforts repeated, again and again, in the largest and smallest parish communities as well as across the generations of young people it has been my joy to teach.”