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Papal Honors Bestowed During Solemn Evening Prayer

Pictured L-R Nancy Armstrong Montes, Bishop Daly, Louise Andrews

On Friday, Dec. 18, in a socially distanced Cathedral, Bishop Thomas Daly presided over Solemn Evening Prayers. The service was celebrated with four guests seated behind the bishop’s cathedra; Monsignor Brian Mee, Monsignor Mark Pautler, Louise Andrews, and Nancy Armstrong Montes. All four were to receive special honors from the Holy See, recognized for their service to the church and the papacy. 

Monsignors Brian Mee and Mark Pautler were granted the honor of Chaplain to His Holiness, which comes with the privilege of the title monsignor, as well as the right to wear a cassock with scarlet piping, much like a bishop’s cassock. To be named a monsignor, a diocesan priest must be at least 65 years old and have made substantial contributions to the life of the local church.

Louise Andrews and Nancy Armstrong Montes were awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal. The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award is awarded by the pope to members of the Catholic faithful for distinguished service to the church and papacy. The award was first instituted in 1888 and made a permanent papal distinction in 1898.

During the homily, Bishop Daly spoke of the honor the pope had bestowed upon the individuals and local church in these unique awards. “Pope Francis has bestowed upon you his blessings and these special honors... this is an honor that extends not just to you four and your family and parishioners, but to the church in Eastern Washington and the Diocese of Spokane, thousands of miles from the Holy See.” Bishop Daly continued, “Paul would write to the community at Corinth, ‘If one part of the body suffers, all parts suffer, if one part is honored, all parts share its joy.’” 

Monsignor Brian Mee, a native of Spokane, was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1978. Monsignor Mee currently serves as the pastor of St. Augustine parish, and recently completed a five-year term as Vicar for Finance for the Diocese of Spokane. He has served at assignments throughout the diocese, including time at the Guatemala Mission in Solala, as well as having spent 20 years as a member of the monastic community at Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon.  

Monsignor Mark Pautler, a native of Walla Walla, was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1974. Monsignor Pautler currently serves as the Chancellor and Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Spokane, a role he has held for three decades. Before retiring from full-time parish ministry, he was most recently pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Spokane. Today, you can hear him singing in the men’s choir at Sacred Heart and helping out in parishes throughout the diocese.

Louise Andrews is a lifelong Catholic and an alumna of St. Charles Catholic School and Marycliff High School. As a certified public accountant, she has served as an advisor to many pastors. Andrews currently serves on the Diocesan Finance Council and plays an integral role in assisting in the administration of parish finances at St. Francis Xavier and St. Patrick parishes in Northeast Spokane.

Nancy Armstrong Montes is a devout Catholic who has lived her faith in many ways. She has served for many years at Sacred Heart Parish in Nespelem on the Colville Reservation. This service has included being a catechist, director of music at Mass, organizer of community events, and as a leader in the Cursillo movement.

Both Andrews and Armstrong Montes are known as exemplary women of faith and disciples who have sought to serve the church and fellow Catholics throughout their lives.