| 9.8°C Dublin

Francis honoured by medal from Pope

HE has been the answer to the prayers of many guesthouse owners with his advice.

NOW celebrity hotelier Francis Brennan has been honoured by the Pope for his work with sick and disabled people.

Francis is well known for presenting the popular RTE show At Your Service with his brother John, which features the pair travelling the country to help hotel and guesthouse owners improve their businesses.

At Your Service has been a ratings hit for RTE One.

Now, it has emerged that the popular owner of the Park Hotel in Kenmare, Co Kerry, has received the Bene Merenti medal, one of the highest honours bestowed by the Vatican.

He has been rewarded for assisting sick and disabled people from Kerry on an annual diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Francis has volunteered his services to the pilgrimage organisers for the past 25 years.

He spends five days and nights every year working to make life more enjoyable for those seeking comfort and peace of mind in the French town.


Speaking in the past about his pilgrimage work, he said: "I think it's because I'm just lucky to be alive, and every year when I come back I thank God that I am able to do it.

"It's such a blessing in life to know that your faith is secure. I'm not a holy Joe, not a bit, but it's just that I live my faith."

The medal was first awarded by Pope Pius VI to recognise military merit during the 18th century. It was later widened to enable the pontiff to recognise the dedication and achievement of people who have been of great service to the Catholic Church.

One of the most famous recipients of the Bene Merenti Medal was Baroness Maria von Trapp, who was recognised for her commitment to an aid programme for Austrians.