Congratulations to Pat Browne, Director of Music and Organist in our parish, who on Gaudete Sunday, 12th December 2021, received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis!
Benemerenti Medals are bestowed to individuals who have merited special recognition by the Holy See. The Medals are Pontifical decorations instituted by Gregory XVI in 1832, and are conferred to people for distinguished service to Catholic principles, the Church and society – to those who have shown an active fidelity to and love for the Church.
From Micheál O’Flaherty, Chairperson of our Parish Pastoral Council:
Since the foundation of the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord and Beaumont Parish in 1978, Pat has given abundantly of his time, energy and talents to our church and parish community. Pat was a founding member and has been an active participant in our Senior Parish Choir since it was first formed. On retirement of our first organist, Noel Taylor, on health grounds, Pat took over as organist and still holds that position some 30 years later together with that of Choir Director.
Pat served for 10 years on our Parish Pastoral Council (or Parish Council as it would have been constituted at the time) and continues to serve after many years on our parish Liturgy Group.
But it is, I believe, his musical contribution that Pat will be best known for. Along with his talented singing and playing, he has composed several liturgical pieces of great beauty and reverence that have enhanced the singing of God’s praise Sunday after Sunday and every celebration of Easter and Christmas. Pat’s combination of easy manner and skilful playing of the organ have been central to the strong congregational participation in our liturgical singing. He also brings great joy to the congregation with his playing before Mass of pieces by Handel, Mozart and other great composers.
Pat has been a source of great encouragement to the choir both as a collective and in his interactions with individual members. He has a special gift of getting the best out of everyone according to their talents and generating a wonderful sense of esprit de corps. Under Pat’s leadership, the Parish Choir has become like a second family for many of us.
In 2014, we reached a crisis point with our beautiful 100+ year old church organ. We were faced with the choice of either replacing it or embarking on extensive refurbishment. To replace the organ, with a modern equivalent of what we had then and have now, would have cost in the region of €100,000. Pat, through his network of church music contacts, managed to negotiate an extensive and thorough refurbishment of the organ for €14,000. Pat oversaw the refurbishment project and spent much time working alongside the contractor. Not only was a great financial saving accrued to the parish, but a beautiful 110 year-old pipe organ was restored to its early 20th century glory. For me, this was Pat’s great gift to our parish and one we continue to enjoy today. No doubt, other parishioners who know Pat will have their own examples to offer.
Congratulations to Pat!