Fr Paul Staes looking at his citation. He received his award from the Belgian ambassador (right).Belgian Scheut Missions priest, Fr Paul Staes, was conferred a Knight in the Order of Leopold, the oldest and highest of Belgian honorary orders of knighthood, on Aug 6.

He received the award from the Belgian ambassador.

“This high distinction is given to you in recognition of your dedicated work as missionary and on the occasion of the celebration of your Golden Jubilee as a priest,” said ambassador Roland Van Remoortele during the ceremony.

Fr Staes marked his priestly anniversary last year.

The award, created in 1832, is one of three Belgian national orders. It is given to distinguished personalities who have had a long and meritorious career.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia was among the 50 or so guests who attended the ceremony at the Belgian ambassador’s residence.

“I am honoured and at the same time humbled by this distinction, and especially happy that it is given in recognition of what is dearest in my life: my missionary and priestly vocation,” said Fr Staes.