Pope Benedict XVI Confers Honorary Title on THR and AMH Board Member|
ARLINGTON, Texas — Monsignor Philip L. Johnson, a member of the boards of trustees for Texas Health Resources and Arlington Memorial Hospital, formally received the honorary title of monsignor during a Father’s Day ceremony at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Arlington.
Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the title upon Johnson and three other priests within the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on the recommendation of Fort Worth Bishop Kevin W. Vann, who requested the honors to recognize the priests’ dedicated ministry and fidelity to the diocese.
Johnson, pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford, has served the Fort Worth diocese for 44 years.
The ceremony recognized both Johnson and Monsignor Joseph Scantlin of the Fort Worth diocese with the second rank of monsignor designations. Msgrs. Charles King and Hubert Neu, also of the diocese, received the highest rank of monsignor.
Prior to the ceremony, for which he donned a fuchsia-colored robe, Johnson joked, “I’ll look like a Christmas tree ornament!”
The term “monsignor,” originating from the French word for “my lord,” is a designation used to address priests who have been granted one of three honorary titles once reserved for ministers who worked in the papal household.
The highest rank, Protonotary Apostolic, gave clerics the authority to notarize papal documents. The second highest rank, Prelate of Honor to His Holiness, was reserved for priests serving as intermediaries between the pope and his cardinals. The third rank, Chaplain of Honor to His Holiness, was given to priests serving as personal attendants to the pope.
Modern-day popes confer these ranks to clergy with the title at the request of their bishops.
“We haven’t had a monsignor named in the diocese for 30 years,” Johnson said. “It is a great honor.”
Johnson has served on the Arlington Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees for eight years, and has served on the Texas Health Resources Board of Trustees since 2006.
“We at Texas Health Resources are so thankful to Monsignor Johnson for his faithful service to our health care system,” said Douglas D. Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Texas Health Resources. “His appointment to monsignor is a tremendous and well-deserved honor, and we are very proud for him.”
Johnson was named pastor of St. Michael in 2001. St. Michael is among the largest Catholic communities in the Fort Worth Diocese, with more than 3,400 registered families.
Before joining St. Michael, Johnson served for 25 years at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Arlington, where he was named the founding pastor in February 1976. Upon starting work as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul, Johnson held the congregation’s first mass in a mini-warehouse on loan from the Knights of Columbus.
During his time at St. Vincent de Paul, Johnson oversaw construction of two church buildings in 1977 and 1984 and an expansion in 1999.
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