Madeleine Medal presented to two St. Vincent parishioners

Friday, Nov. 08, 2019
Madeleine Medal presented to two St. Vincent parishioners Photo 1 of 2
Father John Norman, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, presents the Madeleine Medal to Lily Gaitin, who for many years has served as the parish sacristan.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — Two St. Vincent de Paul parishioners were recognized for their years of service during a Mass on Nov. 3.

Father John Norman, pastor, presented LaRee Osman and Lily Gaitin with the Madeleine Medal, an award given by the Diocese of Salt Lake City that honors individuals who have exemplified faithful service to the parish or community over many years. The medal, which was designed by Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general, has on the front an image of Saint Mary Magdalene as portrayed in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. On the back of the medal is an image of the cathedral. The medal is cast of gold and comes with a chain and presentation box.

Each parish and diocesan institution may make one nomination per year for the Madeleine Medal; the nomination must be approved by the bishop or the vicar general.

As he presented the awards, Fr. Norman said, “There could not be a person more deserving as both of these recipients today.”

LaRee Osman and her husband, Deacon David Osman, moved to the parish in 2006, “and they began service right away,” Fr. Norman said. LaRee Osman served as a nurse and provided “direction and leadership in many different ways. Her greatest gift to the parish was to visit the sick, coordinate those who also went to visit the sick and also those who brought the Eucharist [to the homebound].”

Within the boundaries of St. Vincent de Paul Parish are many hospitals, medical facilities and residential care facilities, and “we have … a record number of extraordinary members of the Eucharist in our parish who visit” those facilities, Fr. Norman said. “That is not an easy job, coordinating those many ministers.”

LaRee Osman also visited the facilities and provided for the needs of the residents, “arranging for the Eucharist to be celebrated in those facilities, making sure that each resident was recognized and shown the care that they deserve,” Fr.  Norman said.

Deacon Osman, now retired, “also served in the parish for a great number of years with great service and with great commitment to the parishioners of St. Vincent’s. And so this award really goes to the two of them,” Fr. Norman said.

Gaitin has been the parish’s sacristan for many years.

“I won’t even mention the number of years she has done that service, but it has been under four pastors,” Fr. Norman said.

“Being the parish sacristan means that Lily is here 365 days a year, with rare exception,” he added, explaining that Gaitin arrives “at the crack of dawn” each morning to open the church and prepare for the celebration of daily Mass.  

“She sets all these things out. She makes sure the books are correct, the candles are appropriate and lit, the ribbons in the books are in the right places. She makes sure the sanctuary lamp is burning, and that everything has been ordered that we need: hosts and candles. She’s straightening things and letting us know what needs attention. She cares for everything,” he said.

In addition, at the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass, Gaitin is “in the vestibule of the church, making sure everything’s ready. She has called or arranged to make sure all the Eucharistic ministers have shown up. If not, she comes and asks some of the rest of you. It’s a job of so many hours that it would be impossible to compile them and … we hope that Lily will continue to serve in this position for many, many years in the future,” Fr. Norman said.

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