Each year, the Cathedral Basilica acknowledges a member of our religious or civic community with our prestigious Keys and Sword Award, named in honor of Saints Peter and Paul, which recognizes extraordinary commitment and selfless dedication in service to others. It acknowledges one whose actions reflect the Gospel values of faith, valor, selfless service, personal sacrifice and respect. The Award was designed by Robert F. McGovern. Honorees are nominated and selected by a process of consultation involving clergy and cathedral Parishioners and members of the Archdiocesan Community.
The Keys and Sword Award was first presented in 2008 to the Cathedral’s longest-tenured rector, Monsignor James J. Howard. In 2009, the Cathedral recognized Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. In 2010, in recognition of the Archdiocese’s participation in the universal observance of the Year of the Priest, the Award was presented to the Priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, accepted the award on behalf of the Priests. 2011 marked the first time there were dual recipients of the Award, Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, President of Neumann University, and Mr. Robert Sims, dedicated leader within the Archdiocese for many years.
The 2012 recipients were the Missionaires of Charity, a religious congregation founded by Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta in 1950. The Missionaries of Charity have been active in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for many years with homes in Chester and Norristown.
View videos of the Award’s previous recipients: