On Saturday evening, one of Derry’s greatest sons, and indeed one of the greatest produced by this nation, John Hume, was honoured once more as he received a Papal knighthood.
The Nobel Prizewinner now has another prestigious accolade to add to his long list of achievements following his investiture as a Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great.
Although he is no stranger to receiving awards, having had some of the world’s most prestigious prizes conferred on him over the years, as a person of great faith this one will have a unique place in his collection, coming as it does from Pope Benedict XVI.
And it was particularly fitting that the honour was conferred on Mr Hume by his great friend Dr Edward Daly
While no doubt modesty will forbid the Nobel laureate from using his new title, he can be justifiably proud that his decades of commitment to the pursuit of peace and justice in Ireland and throughout the world have been recognised by his church.
With typical modesty, Mr Hume said he did not regard the distinction as a personal tribute, but rather as being awarded to the people of Derry.
This is wholly indicative of the life and work of the former MP, and his commitment to Derry for more than 40 years. He has lived his life in the service of the city and continues to do so, sharing his triumphs with everyone. Mr Hume can be assured that the people of Derry will not only share in his triumph but also share in the gratitude, respect and admiration shown to him by the Vatican though this special honour.