The Pope John Paul II award ceremony took place this year on Tuesday Nov. 5th at 5.45pm in Tuam Cathedral. Over 200 young people will be receiving their awards this years with quite a few receiving their Papal Cross.
Archbishop Neary presented them with their awards and our special guest was Peter McConnell who climbed Mt. Everest earlier in the year. It was a great evening of celebration for our young people who do so very much in our church.
All photos by kind courtesy of Fr. Stephen Farragher, PP, Ballyhaunis
ADDRESS of Archbishop Michael Neary FOR THE JOHN PAUL II AWARDS.
I extend a very warm welcome to you all, to the young people who are receiving the Awards, to your parents and families who have every reason to be very proud of you. Welcome to the Members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, to Trish O’ Brien and the Diocesan Youth Council, to the Liaison Committee – Frs. Tod Nolan, Seán Cuningham and Charlie McDonnell, to the priests from your parish, the teachers from your schools and colleges.
It is very encouraging to find that while 242 young people applied for the John Paul II Award, 190 have completed it.
A warm welcome to the Diocesan Youth Choir and the Soloist, Ellen Hynes. Discipleship and Mission is the theme which was chosen for this year. It is very appropriate for the Year of Faith. There can be no discipleship or mission unless people like yourselves are called and sent. Your first call came at a time which you would not have been aware and it was answered by your parents and godparents at your baptism. On that occasion you were also been sent on mission. You have been called many times since then in different ways, in your local Church, in your school, in your local community. You have been invited to become part of the Mission Outreach of the Church. We are reminded of this at every Mass because while we are called we are also sent on Mission in the name of Jesus Christ.
It was very impressive and encouraging to read some of the reflections which you provided as your experience of Church through your participation in the John Paul II Awards.
I welcome our invited guest Peter O’ Connell from Killererin who has climbed Everest to raise money for Pieta House. We rejoice with him in completing this gigantic task and congratulate him on raising money for such a worthy cause.
One of our participants, Cian Coleman, is not here to accept the award this evening. As you know Cian passed on to receive his eternal reward during the year. I know that this is a very difficult time for his family, his Mam and Dad, Mairéad and Michael and his sister Hannah, for his school colleagues and teachers. His family are here to accept his honorary Gold Award. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam usual.
I would like to acknowledge the great work being done by Trish O’ Brien in her role as Diocesan Youth Co-ordinator. Trish has arranged a Youth Ministry Course in which 22 people from the Diocese are participating and being trained. It is hoped that from that group that new Youth leaders will emerge for various areas in our diocese.
I congratulate all those who have received the John Paul II Awards this evening. I would ask you to make your contemporaries aware of this and share the positive experiences of Church which you have had as you participated in the John Paul II Awards.
I hope that this will inspire and influence you to go on to greater participation in your local Church area and enable you to reach out in mission.