MARTINSBURG - In a Mass to honor recipients of Papal Honors that he had recommended, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield presented a Papal Bulla to Clarence E. Martin III, one of nine papal honorees from Pope Benedict XVI. The Papal Bulla was issued by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 18, 2013 which appoints Martin a Knight of Saint Gregory the Great.

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great was established on Sept. 1, 1831, by Pope Gregory XIV, seven months after his election, who named it to honor his holy predecessor, Pope Gregory the Great. Pope Gregory the Great was pope from 590 to 604 and is recognized as one of the most influential of the early Church theologians.

As a result he is often referred to as, “the father of Christian Worship." The Order of Saint Gregory the Great is the highest honor among the five Pontifical orders of Knighthood in the Catholic Church and is conferred on lay men and women by popes upon the recommendation of Bishops in recognition of their service to the Church, unusual labors in support of the Holy See, the good example set in their communities, state and the country and who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments benefitting society.

In recommending Martin to Pope Benedict XVI for the award, Bransfield noted his distinguished service to the Church and society. In particular, his work for the Bishop in helping to reorganize and energize Catholic Charities and his organization of the first fund raising dinner for Catholic Charities in the Diocese, his service to the local community and state in a number of areas and many years of service to the Church.

In particular he noted his membership in the Sovereign Order of Malta where he is a member of the Second Class, his service on its Board of Directors, chairing of a number of committees for the Order and, in particular, his service on numerous pilgrimages of the Order to Lourdes, France, where he has assisted in caring for sick pilgrims who are taken there annually on pilgrimage by the Order.

He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Holy Family Hospital Foundation in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Territories. The Hospital is the only neo-natal hospital in the Territories which provides care to all women and their babies regardless of race or religion. He also serves as President of the Washington Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums which serves the Church by assisting to preserve and maintain the Museums and their art and artifacts.

The Bishop also noted that Martin has also received the Cross of Merit, Pro Merito Melitensi and the Order of Malta which are granted for distinguished service to the Order and Church. He is also a member of two other important orders of the Church, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Constantinian Order of Saint George both of which focus their service on assisting the Christians in the Middle East.

Martin is a shareholder at Martin & Seibert in Martinsburg.

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