The Vatican is honoring a Bay Area resident for her loyalty and contributions to the flock, reports the Fil-Am Star. In many parts of the country, Filipino immigrant communities are credited with shoring up the Catholic Church’s eroding base of parishioners. The Philippines is largely Catholic, and most Filipino immigrants here remain loyal churchgoers.

Pope Benedict XVI is conferring the Benemerenti award to Ms. Nellie Hizon, vice chair of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in San Francisco, for institutionalizing the Midnight Mass, a Filipino
Christmas tradition.

Archbishop George Niederauer will present Hizon the medal and insignia of the Papal Honor at St. Mary’s Cathedral on August 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm. The celebration is open to the public.