In the last two weeks, 220 young people from two Irish diocese collected the Pope John Paul II Award (JPII) for work in their parish and community.
The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, assisted Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan in awarding 133 students from schools across the diocese of Waterford and Lismore.
Archbishop Okolo thanked the people of Clonmel and the diocese for their kind invitation and warm welcome, adding he was “delighted” to represent the Holy Father at the event.
The schools awarded included Ardscoil na Mara in Tramore, Coláiste Dún Iascaigh in Cahir, Scoil Mhuire in Carrick-on-Suir, Blackwater School in Lismore and Cappoquin parishes, as well as the High School, Loreto and Presentation secondary schools in Clonmel.
The diocesan coordinator for the award, Fr Michael Toomey, said he was literally “astounded” at the enthusiasm and commitment the students put in, saying: “The feedback from the students has been so open and honest that it makes very good reading for priests, parish councils and schools in how to get their enthusiasm and energy back into the Church. This award helps everyone to do that”
It is the 10th anniversary of the JPII awards in Ireland, and a delegation from the diocese will travel to Rome at the end of this month for an audience with the Holy Father, as well as a Mass on RTÉ in December.
The diocese of Kilmore last week celebrated 87 young people between the ages of 16-18 being awarded the PJII award in Cavan, which was attended by Bishop Leo O’Reilly.
The number of participants has doubled in recent years. They were from numerous schools and 10 parishes across the diocese this year.