A LOCAL school principal has received a prestigious Papal award in recognition of her service to Catholic education. 

Holy Trinity Primary School Principal, Fiona Enright Boyd, has been presented with the Benemerenti Medal from the Vatican. 

Originally an award for exceptional service in the Papal Army, the medal is bestowed on members of the clergy and laity who have displayed a remarkable degree of commitment and dedication to the mission of the Church.

The Benemerenti Medal, a gold Greek Cross depicting Christ with his arm raised in blessing. It also features traditional symbols of the papacy and the coats of arms of the current Pope

The Benemerenti Medal, a gold Greek Cross depicting Christ with his arm raised in blessing. It also features traditional symbols of the papacy and the coats of arms of the current Pope

Mrs Boyd, who is just the 60th person in the world to have received the medal from Pope Francis, was presented with the award during a special mass at Holy Trinity Church in Turf Lodge. 

It comes after Mrs Boyd was recommended to the Vatican by her school's governors and Father Brendan Mulhall of Holy Trinity Parish Church. 

The medal was bestowed on the Beechmount woman following a rigorous application process and assessment by the Vatican.

Mrs Boyd, a former St Dominic's pupil and St Mary's College alumnus who became principal of the Holy Trinity Primary in 2013, said: “I am so proud and honoured to be presented with this prestigious award, and to receive it in front of my wonderful family and the amazing governors and staff of Holy Trinity Primary School made it all the more special.  

"I was so proud that Martina Crilly, Father Brendan and the governors of Holy Trinity had the belief in me to nominate me for this amazing award.

“My family have been so supportive over the years especially my amazing parents Eddie and Phyllis Enright. My parents were hard working, loving and selfless. They believed in me and I worked hard to make them proud. They encouraged me to have self belief and at all times to be resilient, tolerant, kind and compassionate. I have tried to use the skills and qualities they instilled in me in my life and work.

“Holy Trinity is an innovative school, committed to working in partnership with the whole school community to provide a high quality education in a safe, caring and nurturing learning environment.

“I am so proud to be Principal of this outstanding school and this award is for the whole school community, past and present. The staff make my job so easy. They are committed, dedicated, hardworking, talented and compassionate. They have such high expectations and genuinely care for their pupils.” 

“Our pupils are amazing and our parents so supportive. The pupils' work ethic, manners and behaviour are exemplary.  We aim to instil in our pupils, the skills, resilience and knowledge to make them confident future leaders in our society. I am so proud of each and every one of them.”

Mrs Boyd paid further tribute to the school following what has been a "a very difficult few years" due to the pandemic.

"The pandemic has made us stronger, more resilient, more compassionate and understanding and has brought our community even closer," she said.

“This is my dream job. I never would have thought that I would receive an award from Pope Francis but this award is for my family and the staff and community of Holy Trinity. I accept it on their behalf. This award belongs to us all and I so am proud to be part of the Holy Trinity family”.

Fr Mulhall commented: "We were delighted that Mrs Fiona Boyd, our Principal, received this award from Pope Francis as a recognition of her outstanding service to Catholic education in the parish of Holy Trinity. Having spent her entire career in Holy Trinity PS, Mrs Boyd is recognised for her exceptional pastoral care of children, parents and staff during the period of the Covid pandemic.  

"During an extremely challenging time for all schools, Holy Trinity excelled itself in providing ongoing school-based education for vulnerable children and the children of key and frontline workers, as well as home-based learning for other kids. Mrs. Boyd was recognised for having gone well beyond the call of duty in providing an exceptional level of service and dedication to the school community. Her wonderful pastoral care and support for families during this time was a key factor in her being nominated for the award."