WelCom February 2023
‘Gobsmacked, humbled and overjoyed’ were long-time and popular Whanganui parishioner Mrs Merle Manson’s immediate thoughts when it was announced she was to receive the Benemerenti medal. The announcement was made at the Vigil Mass on Saturday 8 January at Holy Family Church. The congregation clapped loudly in approval.
Nominated by The Catholic Parish of Whanganui – Te Parihi Katorika ki Whanganui parish priest, Fr Vaughan Leslie, the presentation was his last task before returning to his home diocese in Dunedin.
‘It’s awarded in recognition of the unselfish contribution you’ve made to the life of the parish, neighbouring St Marcellin’s School and the St Vincent de Paul Society,’ Fr Vaughan said. ‘Merle has expressed God’s love in everything she has done.’
The citation noted Merle’s ministry in the parish as one of delightful warmth and presence working behind the scenes in her unassuming style. When Merle saw something needed to be done, she responded immediately and quietly.
Merle is the co-ordinator of the parish’s Prayer Tree and a valued St Vincent de Paul Society member. For 25 years plus, she has helped at St Marcellin’s primary school with reading and organising Sacramental programmes. She continues to go to the school once a week to help out and she knows each student’s name.