This is the year of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Along with that celebration came an announcement from His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnson, Governor General of Canada, of the creation of a medal called the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.  Recipients of this medal are Canadians who have ‘made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada.’

On the GG’s webpage we read:

A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

I am proud to announce that one of those medals is coming under our roof. Lt (N) Catherinanne George, Padre at HMCS Prevost and Regional Chaplain in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve will receive this honour on October 17, 2012 at a ceremony at HMCS Prevost. Catherinanne is being honoured for her service to the Naval Reserve, and its sailors, to the Navy Centennial Celebration in 2010 when she chaired the committee that planed celebrations for Windsor, ON, as well as for her service to the wider community in her civilian life as a University Director of Campus Ministry.

Lt (N) Catherinanne George is pictured here at the left with some colleagues at a Military Institute Dinner in 2010.

From the day I met Catherinanne I have been impressed with her passion for serving her country. She has been both a Regular Force and Reserve Navy Chaplain in the last 17 years. In that time I have been impressed with how very present she is to those committed to her care. Those who have known her as Padre George have great respect for her. She was nominated by sailors because she has served so many of them with love and with a genuine spirit.  Mahatma Gandhi said – “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Those words are a fitting description of how I have witnessed Catherinanne discern who she is and what her ministry is.

Whether at as a Padre at CFB Borden, HMCS Hunter in Windsor, HMCS Prevost in London she has always served those to whom she is known as Padre. Whether at Assumption University or Brescia University College, Catherinanne has been discovering who God has made her to be by being so very present to the faculty, staff, and students in the schools in which she has been Director of Campus Ministry. Whether she has been serving as a clerk in a book store or a secretary in a fire hall, Catherinanne has served those around her with love.  Her heart is big, and she will go the extra mile to see to it that those committed to her care know that they are loved – by others and loved by God.

I love Catherinanne’s faithfulness. She teaches me to have faith and to pray. I am most impressed that Catherinanne always looks for the best in others, even those who can be difficult.  Thérèse de Lisieux  wrote – “I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors’ defects–not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues.”  I can be guilty of being cynical, but Catherinanne will always remind me that my call is to seek and serve Christ in ALL persons – even those who can be difficult. She always looks for what is best in others, even if it causes her pain. That is what makes her an excellent Minister, a great Padre, a tremendous Chaplain, and a wonderful Director of Campus Ministry… and dare I say a supportive and loving wife!

I can think of no more deserving candidate for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. I could not be prouder – Congratulations Catherinanne – I love you!