On the 3rd March 2019, owner and chairman of Chasetown, Noel Sweeney, was invested as a Knight of St Gregory the Great, by Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley. Over 400 people were present at the thanksgiving mass at St Josephs Catholic Church, Burntwood, including civic dignitaries from Lichfield and Burntwood, as well as Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr John Crabtree OBE. The The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great is one of the five papal knighthoods of the Catholic Church, and was awarded to Noel Sweeney in recognition of his charitable and community work. Throughout the Archdiocese of Birmingham (covering the West Midlands region, and the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire) there are around 19 Knights and Dames of St Gregory.
‘This is an important achievement and recognises a person’s contribution above and beyond the life of the church and the good example they set in their communities and country’ (Archbishop Bernard Longley, head of the Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Noel sponsors many local agricultural shows in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, where he has close family ties. He also sponsors a top professors work in the archives of the Venerable English College in Rome, which is one of three locations used by the Archdiocese of Birmingham to prepare men for the Catholic priesthood. Representatives from many of the projects and organisations Noel has supported over the years were present at the event.
‘I am deeply honoured to have received this award, and it was a privilege to be presented with it by Archbishop Longley at the Investiture Mass at my local church’ (Noel Sweeney, Owner and chairman of Chasetown Civil Engineering)
The event was well reported in the local area, gaining articles in the Archdiocese of Birmingham News, Lichfield Live and home parish St Josephs news, (please click on the links to view articles). In addition to this, the event featured in the local paper, the Lichfield Mercury (shown below on left).
Noel has been a member of the Catenian Association for many years, with many of his fellow Walsall circle Catenians present at his investiture mass. Noel’s investiture also featured in the Catenian magazine, Catena (shown above on the right). The Catenian Association is a Catholic lay society with 10,000 members in a number of countries, with its main focus being on strengthening family values and friendship.
‘Our primary purpose is to establish a network of friends, which enhances their family life, strengthens their Faith and sustains them in difficult times. We support each other, the Catholic Church, young people and those in need.’ (The Catenian Association)
In response to the event, radio station of Noels home region in Ireland, Shannonside, featured an interview with Noel on their Side by Side show with Fr Eamonn O’Connor, on the 26th May. (Please click on either the image or the link to listen to the broadcast).
The momentous event was not only a celebration for Noel and his family, but for the whole local community, including the 800 employees of Chasetown and Cameron Homes, who have played an active role in Noels support of his community through the years.
More images of the occasion can be viewed below.