Archdiocesean administrator to get papal award

St. Louis – One of the few Americans to work with the Vatican on financial affairs has been honored with a papal award for service to the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis's chief administrative officer, David Mueckl, is the first person from the Archdiocese to receive this particular award, a knighthood from the Order of St. Gregory. Past recipients include Bob Hope and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, company Mueckl called "humbling."

"To be even considered in that group of people is certainly an honor for me that I never would have dreamed possible," he said.

Mueckl also served as a consultant to the office that oversees Catholic doctrine when it was led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Robert Carlson said he couldn't be more excited about Mueckl's award.

"Since the Second Vatican Council we've talked about the important role of lay people in the church, and I think this is a significant example of somebody who has been generous with his time, with his talent, and has not only done an outstanding job for the Archdiocese of St. Louis but obviously for the Holy See as well," Carlson said.

There are 555,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis - about a quarter of the total population