Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, presented 134 young people from across the diocese with Pope John Paul II Awards at a special event held in The Inn at Dromoland on Thursday 11 November.
Bishop Monahan welcomed the young people to the event, along with their families, school teachers, principals and chaplains, and representatives of the various diocesan youth bodies including Father Gerard Jones, Diocesan Co-ordinator for the John Paul II Awards.
Speaking to the young people receiving awards, Bishop Monahan said, “This is a wonderful occasion. It is recognition of your dignity, the gifts that you have, and the way in which you use them and a pointer to your generosity of spirit.”
He continued, “Over the past few months since I came to Killaloe I have heard of the very significant contribution which you yourselves have been making in so many ways throughout the length and breadth of the Diocese of Killaloe. I have heard of the way in which you have presented various aspects of your local Church as members of transition years, the great pride that you take in your local Church history, the books of prayers and projects that has been published by yourselves, the many pilgrimages you have embarked upon at home and abroad, the choirs you have joined, the nursing homes that you visited, the joy and hope that you brought to residents through your good humour, your music and song. At Mass and in the Sacraments many of you have been reading as ministers of the Word, others have accompanied young people as they were preparing for Confirmation in the programme ‘You Shall Be My Witnesses’; you have been role models for younger people who look to you for direction.”
“You have now shown that you are a person who has taken responsibility and is capable of taking on even greater responsibility in the Church. I rejoice in this. I welcome you and I want you to know that the Church welcomes your ideas, your youthful energy, your faith and the hope that you have in your heart. I want you to know that you are very valued members of a team here in the Diocese of Killaloe, in your own family, your school, your parish.”
Bishop Monahan again congratulated the young people of the diocese on their achievements, and thanked all involved in organising the awards, especially the Knights of St Columbanus for supporting the awards across Ireland. He concluded his message by offering a ‘prayer’ written by Bob Dylan:
May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come through,
May you always do for others
And let them do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung.
And may you stay forever young.
The Pope John Paul II Award was created to commemorate Saint John Paul II. The award celebrates young people who take an active part in the life of their parish, in the life of their community and in society. The award was introduced to the Diocese of Killaloe in 2013. For more information about the award, visit www.thepopejohnpauliiaward.com.