By Marion Homer

Kenilworth charity trustee, Peter Rand MBE, was invested as a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great at St Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Kenilworth on Saturday 2 June.

The award is one of the highest and most prestigious distinctions the Pope can bestow on an individual.

It recognises Peter’s significant commitment to the Catholic Parish of Kenilworth and acknowledges his tireless activities on a local, national and international level to Kenilworth based charity the ‘Friends of the Holy Land’.

FHL’s mission is to support the beleaguered Christian population of the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan.

Peter has made many visits to the region, including several into Gaza to meet the tiny Christian community there who are daily fighting for survival.

After his investiture, Peter received a beautiful mother of pearl star, handmade in Bethlehem and featuring an image of the Holy Family.

Salim Asfoura, who manages FHL’s olive wood imports, which are sold to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Christians living in the area, made the presentation.

Peter said of his award: “I feel humbled and greatly honoured to have been appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

"It has been a pleasure to support my parish of St. Francis in Kenilworth over the last 47 years and to have played my part in helping grow FHL.

“Travelling to the Holy Land every few months, and witnessing the challenges facing our Christian brothers and sisters there, has had a big impact on my life.

"I will always be grateful to our founder, the late Dr Michael Whelan, for providing this opportunity. I thank everyone in the UK and the Holy Land who has contributed in any way to FHL, and feel all of you share in this award.”

Open the homily here

FHL are always looking for volunteer help in their office in Farmer Ward Road or to speak on their behalf.

If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities or to arrange a presentation on the work of FHL please email [email protected] or call 01926 512980.

Donations in support of FHL can be made at

Photographs taken by Con McHugh. Click here to view.