John Brown received the Benemerenti Medal from Father Joseph Sullivan during a recent Vigil Mass at Holy Cross Church.
Father Sullivan, the parish priest of Holy Cross, was approached by parishioners five years ago.
He spoke to most of the clergy associated with the parish and received their encouragement.
With the assistance of the Archbishop’s Office, representation was made to Pope Francis, who supported the medal’s presentation.
Father Sullivan was full of praise for John’s selfless work.
He said: “John always has had a love for ‘Les trois choses blanches’, Our Lady, the Holy Eucharist and the Pope.
“Many, many parishioners of Holy Cross would help out when asked.
“What impresses me most about Mr Brown is that he is here not just for a day or two but for years.
“Indeed, he has helped the many various clergy in the past decades.
“I am really pleased for him.
“His family and I are proud to be part of the same parish as John.”
The Benemerenti Medal is awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church.
It was established originally as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army.