The Diocese of Achonry held its first presentation of the Pope John Paul II Awards on Monday 21 November in Saint Nathy’s College, Ballaghderreen, Co Roscommon. Bishop Brendan Kelly presented the awards to nineteen students from across the diocese in the presence of their families, teachers and friends.
The students were from secondary schools in Charlestown, Tubbercurry, Ballymote, Ballaghaderren and Ballisodare. Father Joe Gavigan, Chaplain to the Knights of Saint Columbanus who support the award throughout Ireland, welcomed them all and wished them well.
This first group of award recipients, though small, is seen as a very important development in the diocese. Bishop Kelly thanked the young people and congratulated them all on their achievements. Guest speaker Monica Morley encouraged the young people to stay involved in their Church; making the point that their parish is the touchstone.
Three of the award recipients also spoke of their journey through the awards process. Activities undertaken by the students included volunteering with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, being part of the youth group on the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, helping a local priest edit and publish the parish bulletin, joining folk groups, and being Ministers of The Word.
The Pope John Paul II Award was created to commemorate Saint John Paul II. The award celebrates those who take an active part in the life of their parish, in the life of their community and in society. For more information about the award, visit www.thepopejohnpauliiaward.com.