Tampa Parish Staff Member Receives HNP Francis Medal

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

George Corrigan with Francis Medal recipient Marcelle Dunbar (Photo courtesy of George)

George Corrigan with Francis Medal recipient Marcelle Dunbar (Photo courtesy of George)

TAMPA, Fla. — A longtime staff member of Sacred Heart Parish was honored last month for her service and style as she retires.

On June 28, George Corrigan, OFM, pastor, presented Marcelle Dunbar — Sacred Heart’s longest-tenured staff member — with the HNP Francis Medal as she prepared to retire after 28 and one half years of serving the parish in a manner filled with Franciscan charism of hospitality and service.

“Marcelle’s first position with the parish was at Sacred Heart Academy before coming to the parish office in 1991,” said George, pastor since 2011. “Since then, Marcelle has been the welcoming voice one heard on the phone when you first contacted us about weddings, baptisms, and other important family celebrations. If someone was married or celebrated a baptism at Sacred Heart in the last 25 years, Marcelle was the one who helped make the day special.”

“She also served as the administrative assistant to many pastors, including those of the Franciscan era at the parish,” he said. “Marcelle will retire to her New Port Richey home on the water and enjoy life with her husband, David, her new puppy Marshall, as well as her children and grandchildren in the Tampa Bay area.”

“Marcelle was wonderful at being the face of Franciscan compassion to our parishioners and to outsiders,” said George.

The parish staff celebrated Dunbar’s retirement with a party at her home on Wigwam Creek, which leads out through the mangroves to the Gulf of Mexico, according to George.

“The staff took to the ‘high seas’ to visit Key Island and enjoy a summer day,” he said. “It was a great day for the staff to get away together and to honor our dear friend, Marcelle.”

Last summer, George recognized parishioner Linda Waggoner with the HNP Francis Medal. In the fall, the more than 150-year-old Tampa parish commemorated its 10th anniversary as a Franciscan community.

The Holy Name Province Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM, when he was provincial minister. Recipients are people who display an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. Over the past few months, the medal has been presented to parishioners in Triangle, Va., and of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., as well as to an architect in New York City.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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