Bishop Seamus Freeman SAC has launched the John Paul II Award in the Diocese of Ossory. The theatre at St. Kieran’s College was packed as Bishop Freeman welcomed the 120 young people from Ossory, that have applied to take part in the Award.
The participants represent six secondary schools in the diocese – Loreto Secondary School Kilkenny, St. Brigid’s College Callan, St. Kieran’s College Kilkenny, CBS Secondary Kilkenny, Castlecomer Community School, and Grennan College Thomastown.
The Pope John Paul II Award is dedicated to the memory of the late Pope John Paul II whose love of young people was so profound. The Award was launched by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland His Excellency Most Rev Dr Giuseppe Lazzarotto on 7th November 2006 in the Diocese of Derry, Ireland. Since then, it has spread to 12 other archdioceses and dioceses around the country, and thousands of young people between 16 and 18 have taken part.
The Order of the Knights of St. Columbanus is supporting the Award by sponsoring the set-up costs for each diocese.
The Award is designed to recognise young people who have been actively involved in their parish and community. Religion is for living and through taking an active part in church and community they will experience the contentment and fulfilment that comes from serving others, especially those in great need.
As well as the feeling of personal achievement, participation will help to show future employers and educators that someone can make an ongoing commitment to a task. The award is non-competitive, flexible and voluntary.
Bishop Freeman, in his introduction said: “I believe that the introduction of the John Paul Awards to the Diocese of Ossory will help to re-generate the sense of the Christian need to reach out to the many needs of our neighbours”.
Fr. Paul Farron who developed the Award in the Diocese of Derry, presented Bishop Freeman with a framed certificate to mark the arrival of the Award in Ossory. “Now is the time for young people to become the real Church. Don’t think you have to wait until you are older the time for you is now!” said Fr Farron.
Fr. Willie Purcell, Chairman of the Ossory John Paul II Committee said: ‘This is a wonderful time for young people, despite all the doom and gloom there is still a generosity in young people to make the world a better place. The John Paul II award offers an opportunity in faith for young people to make a difference in the Church and in Society. Through their commitment and service in the church and community they will give witness to the world of a way of living that brings happiness, contentment and a peace, that which the world longs for.”
The Ossory John Paul II Award Office is at St. Kieran’s College, and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 056 7770261.