9th Annual Pope John Paul II Award Ceremony
481 young people received the Pope John Paul II Award at 9th Annual Award Ceremony for Derry Diocese
The Derry Diocese recently presented 481 young people with the PJPII Award. The majority of young people merited the Gold Award which has a required commitment of 20 weeks voluntary work in their parish and local community. Arch Bishop George Stack from Cardiff presented the awards alongside the Patron of the Award Most Rev Donal Mc Keown. The young people receiving awards represented 22 post primary schools, 49 parishes in the diocese and 11 parishes outside the Derry Diocese. Addressing the young people Bishop Mc Keown congratulated them on their achievement but encouraged them to continue their volunteering beyond this award and particularly in this year to continue to be bearers of mercy. Bishop Mc Keown told the young people "We need the energy and enthusiasm of youth as much as we need the wisdom of experience. And youth has its own wisdom, its dreams of new ways of doing things, new hopes, new gifts." He added "Your births were blessings to you families. Your maturing years are a blessing to our society. A cynical society needs your idealism. A worried society needs your hope. A frightened society needs your fun. Never lose your idealism and generosity. Jesus wanted to create a church full of young people of all ages."
Emir Mc Sorley from Loreto Grammar School in Omagh and Cappagh Parish shared her experience of working in her parish for the award. She volunteered at a Novena for several weeks and took part in a faith friend's programme preparing Primary 4 pupils for First Penance and First Holy Communion. Emir also climbed Croagh Patrick, volunteered for charity and school mentoring. Emir commented that because of the award "she has met other young people into faith and they've become friends."
The JPII award, founded in the Derry Diocese, is now active in 20 dioceses in Ireland and is also running in the UK in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.