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Knights of Columbus bestows top honor on Maryknoll priest

Father Gerard Hammond wins Gaudium et Spes Award in recognition for his numerous North Korea missions

Knights of Columbus bestows top honor on Maryknoll priest

For his humanitarian work, Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond has been awarded the highest honor of the Knights of Columbus. (Photo by Catholic Herald)

June 19, 2017

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An American priest who has made more than 50 trips to North Korea to bring humanitarian medical aid to that country has been awarded the highest honor of the Knights of Columbus Catholic fraternal organization, the Gaudium et Spes Award, in recognition of his work.

Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond, 83, who has served in South Korea since 1960, made his first trip to the North in 1995.

According to the website of the Knights of Columbus, "The Gaudium et Spes Award is awarded only in special circumstances and only to individuals of exceptional merit. It was first given in 1992, when the Knights of Columbus named Mother Teresa of Kolkata as the award's inaugural recipient."

"The award recognizes individuals for their exemplary contributions to the realization of the message of faith and service in the spirit of Christ as articulated in the document for which it is named."

Father Hammond has worked with the ecumenical Eugene Bell Foundation to bring medicines and other support to tuberculosis patients in North Korea.

The award, which Father Hammond will receive at a banquet in St. Louis, U.S., on Aug. 1, consists of a gold medal and an honorarium of $100,000.

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