On Wednesday 28 September in the Glencomeragh House of Prayer, Kilsheelan, Co. Tipperary, the bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Most Reverend Alphonsus Cullinan awarded 16 students from five different schools across the diocese with their Pope John Paul II Award medals. Launched in October 2014 by The Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, the award is now in its fourth year in this diocese.
Congratulations to Ellen O’Callaghan, Allanah Meehan, Samuel Brown and Neil Quinn, the four TY students who completed the Gold Medal Programme of the John Paul 11 Awards project. Bishop Cullinan presented them with their medals at a ceremony in Glencomeragh House 2 weeks ago. To complete the programme, each student had to commit to 20 hours service in the parish & 20 hours in the community, & then submit a paper on aspects of Christian life. They felt that they gained a lot from the experience and of course contributed to the community life in our parish.
Run in many dioceses across the country over the last few years, The Pope John Paul II Award is a program, which encourages our young people to get involved in their community and parish, and as part of our parish commitment to enhancing the lives of our young people on their journey through faith. The award has been set up with the kind and generous support of the Knights of St Columbanus.
The schools awarded included Ardscoil na Mara Tramore, Coláiste Dún Lascaigh, Cahir, Waterpark & St Pauls Community College Waterford, and Blackwater School in Lismore & Cappoquin parishes.
Bishop Cullinan welcomed the students, their families and teachers, and mentioned the great work of youth ministry which is taking shape in the diocese. He also welcomed The Holy Family Mission which is starting up in Glencomeragh House of prayer. The project welcomes young people interested in living in community, praying and studying the Catholic faith. They make a commitment of one year.
Bishop Cullinan said: “Glencomeragh will become a place of encounter for youth and from there to reach out to parishes and groups as a place to experience the faith lived out in a young Catholic Christian community”. The core team of Maura Garrihy, Fr. Patrick Cahill and Patrick Reynolds have a great deal of experience working with young people and have fully committed to this project. NET Ministries have also started in the Diocese. Five young evangelizers, comprising two from Canada, and one each from Ireland, England and the US, will live and work in the Diocese for the next nine months. They will be involved in parish youth ministry across the Diocese, encountering their peers, encouraging the starting up of youth initiatives in parishes where they are invited.
Diocesan coordinator of the pope John Paul II award, Fr. Michael Toomey, said he was literally ‘astounded’ at the enthusiasm and commitment all students have given and put into this award. “When people ask me – ‘where are the young people in our church?’ I can now say that they are just outside the door and waiting to be invited in!” Fr. Michael added: “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.”
The award allows students to assist in many parish and community ministries, and they in turn gain many experiences and talents, which enhance their spiritual and personal development. This year, the award is being launched in secondary schools and parishes in and around Clonmel. Already over 30 students have begun their awards, and further details can be found in school, or at :www.thepopejohnpauliiaward.com/waterford-and-lismore