St Finbar's Glenbrook Parish

Pope Francis awards Blue Mountains Bushfire ‘Hero’ Principal


Pope Francis awards Blue Mountains Bushfire ‘Hero’ Principal News Story
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP congratulates Sergio Rosato. Photography: Alphonsus Fok

Media Release, Friday 17 October 2014

Blue Mountains ‘hero’ School Principal, Mr Serge Rosato has received the Papal Medal ‘Benemerenti’ from Pope Francis. The award was conferred by Bishop of Parramatta and Archbishop-elect of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP at a Thanksgiving Ceremony at St Thomas Aquinas Springwood at the one year anniversary of the Blue Mountains fires.

Led by Principal Sergio Rosato, St Thomas Aquinas Primary School in Springwood was forced to evacuate more than 600 staff and students on 17 October 2013 as the bushfires threatened the school property. The students and staff walked calmly and bravely to safety to the Winmalee Shopping Centre despite some of their own homes being damaged or lost during the fires.

In his speech, Archbishop Anthony said: “I have received another message from Pope Francis. He has advised me that ‘in recognition of his singular service to the Christian life’, Mr Serge Rosato is awarded the gold papal medal Benemerenti.”

The Benemerenti Medal is an honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church. Originally established as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army, the medal was later extended to the clergy and the laity for service to the church.

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