7th Annual Pope John Paul II Award Ceremony
7th Annual Award Ceremony
Pope John Paul II Award
The Diocese of Derry had a double celebration on Tuesday 25th February, when the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, announced that Pope Francis had appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor Diocese, Donal McKeown, as the new Bishop of Derry. The announcement coincided with the Annual Award Ceremony for the Pope John Paul II Award in the Diocese. Celebrating its seventh year in the Diocese, 457 young people received their awards from Guest of Honour Archbishop Charles Brown, and Diocesan Administrator, Rev Francis Bradley. The presence of the newly appointed Bishop McKeown on stage to greet the young people added to the occasion.
The Pope John Paul II award was set up to help young people get involved in the life of their Church and Community. It aims to help teenagers understand that religion is for living and can be the central part of their everyday lives. During the ceremony a few young people shared their personal experiences of taking part in this award. The richness and diversity of their volunteer work and activities was evident: Rosanna McAleese from Loreto College in Coleraine said the award had helped her get involved in many activities and experiences in her parish, community, and even further afield. She travelled to Lourdes and Romania as part of her award and found the whole experience 'humbling and life-giving'. Archbishop Brown congratulated the young poeple on their 'hard work and commitment' and Bishop Mc Keown spoke to them about their goodness and 'how they were made for great things'. The awardees represented 22 schools and 47 parishes as well as 18 parishes outside the diocese. The ceremony was attended by over 1600 people, including family and friends of those receiving the award. All enjoyed an evening of celebration and entertainment centred on the achievements and dedication of the young people gathered. This brings the total number who have received the PJPII Awards now in the diocese to 2384 and the national figure for young people participating in the award is now over 10,000.
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