IN PICS: Monsignor Eamon Martin presents Pope John Paul II Awards

Young people from throughout the Derry diocese have received John Paul 11 Awards for their involvement in their local parish communities. Mgr. Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop elect of Armagh and Friar Alessandro from Assisi presented the award to 505 local school pupils at a ceremony in the Millennium Forum.

The sixth year of this initiative, the Award enables local teenagers to become actively involved in the life of their parish and local community. On completion of the Award the young people receive a gold, silver or bronze award.

Pupils from Lumen Christi College who received the John Paul 11 Award pictured with Mgr. Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop elect of Armagh and Friar Alessandro from Assisi. Also included are teachers, Dr Marie Ferris, vice-principal, Dr Michael Gormley and Mr Stephen Doherty,

Pupils from Lumen Christi College who received the John Paul 11 Award pictured with Mgr. Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop elect of Armagh and Friar Alessandro from Assisi. Also included are teachers, Dr Marie Ferris, vice-principal, Dr Michael Gormley and Mr Stephen Doherty,

Mgr. Martin, highlighted to the young people gathered that ‘something else is needed in today’s world - something that can only be found in friendship with Jesus Christ’. Reflecting on the mission of St. Columba, leaving Derry to spread the Gospel of Christ, he too called the young people to mission, in the world they live in today. This mission is simply to continue to spread the Good News.

The enthusiasm and joy of the young people was obvious particularly when Friar Alessandro, the ‘Voice from Assisi’, addressed the students and performed a number of his songs, including Open the Door to Christ; accompanied by the students of St. Columb’s College and St. Mary’s College Derry City. Those gathered spoke of how this award has helped them find their true role in the Church and in their local community today.

The fruits of the Award are evident in schools, parishes, local communities, charities and in families. Testament to this is the fact that young people are keen to stay involved. Those gathered were reminded of ‘The Papal Cross Award’. This Award is for those who have already received the Gold Award and involves a greater level of commitment to their parish and wider community.

The Pope John Paul II award is for young people aged 16-18 yrs. If you would like to find out more about this award check out www.thepopejohnpauliiaward.com, email admin@thepopejohnpauliiaward.com or contact the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre at 028 71264087