Archbishop Neary – Words of Welcome
John Paul II Awards, Knock, 17 November 2016
Welcome to all receiving the JP II awards. It is a proud evening for your parents, grandparents, families and friends. Welcome to your teachers, principals, priests, religious, award leaders, parish and diocesan councils.
For over a year you have been working towards your award. During that time you have acquired a deeper insight into, and knowledge of, the people who form the Church in your local area. You know more about their work, how they think, pray, and fulfil their responsibilities as individuals, families, and members of society. In this way you have grown closer to Jesus Christ as the One Who inspires those people and has influenced yourself.
The relationship works two ways. People have got to know you better, are influenced by what you are doing and the spirit in which you do it. You will notice from your experience that both yourselves and others work as a team, that team spirit is very important.
You have been challenged to give of your time, talents, intellect, and skills as you took an active part in the life of the Church. As a result you have grown in your appreciation and understanding of Church. There is undoubtedly great idealism and generosity, but this needs to be challenged, and when challenged it thrives as it is in the JP II awards.
I commend you all on your achievement. You have had the opportunity to reflect more deeply on your faith and have the courage to bear witness to it in situations involving your peers. It is my fervent hope that you will go forward from here to bring joy and hope to the life of the Church in your local area.
Our Diocesan Youth Director, Siobhán Bradley, has done trojan work in preparing over 350 young people to participate in these awards. She, with others, has planned this most impressive and joyful evening. As a diocese we are very indebted to the Knights of St. Columbanus for their powerful support in the John Paul II Awards. I want to express our appreciation to the Supreme Knight, Barry McMahon.