St. Joseph parishioner gets medal for her church work

January 02, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Bishop P. Francis Murphy, western vicar of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, recently presented M. Jean Maher with the archdiocesan Medal of Honor for her years of work for and dedication to St. Joseph Roman Catholic Community in Sykesville.

Mrs. Maher raised four children, worked a full-time job, devoted countless hours to her church, community and Knights of Columbus programs, and cared for elderly family members, said Jane Kipp, a spokeswoman at the Catholic Center in Baltimore.

In her 17 years as a member of St. Joseph, Mrs. Maher organized several committees that dealt with public relations, the parish census, welcoming new members, bereavement support and hospitality.

She also taught children in the parish religious education program and reinstituted the annual chicken barbecue.

Under her direction, several hundred volunteers serve the dinner to more than 1,000 people.

"This is actually our celebration of summer and a real community event," said Mrs. Maher. "We start to prepare in January and plan the dinner for mid-August, when the corn is ready."

The Rev. Theodore Cassidy, pastor of St. Joseph, nominated Mrs. Maher for the award.

"I was so honored when Father Ted called to tell me I would receive it," she said. "When the bishop put it [the medal] around my neck, I felt thrilled."

Mrs. Maher said she had asked all her committee members to participate in the award ceremony "to share the honor with me."

"None of this work would have transpired if it weren't for the beautiful, faith-filled people who have worked with me," she said.

"Father Ted made it so meaningful when he said I showed how a wife and mother can give to her community."

Mrs. Maher, 48, said she "lives and works locally, so I manage to get everything done."

A mail carrier at the Sykesville post office, Mrs. Maher has worked with her husband, Dick, on several Knights of Columbus projects.

She also founded and is president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights.

The Mahers' four children range in age from 20 to 27, and they have one grandchild.

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