The new Bishop of Derry, Most Rev Dr Donal McKeown was a surprise guest at the annual Pope John Paul II Awards ceremony held in Derry’s Millennium Forum on Tuesday night.
Along with the special guest of honour, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, Bishop McKeown congratulated almost 500 young people from throughout the Derry diocese who had successfully completed the Award which is dedicated to the memory of the late Pope John Paul II
The Pope John Paul II award which is now in its seventh year was set up to help young people get involved in the life of their church and community. It aims to help teenagers understand that religion is for living and can be the central part of their everyday lives.
During the ceremony some of the young people shared their personal experiences of taking part in the award. The richness and diversity of their volunteer work and activities was evident. One pupil, Rosanna McAleese said the award had helped her get involved in many activities and experiences in her parish and community. She travelled to Lourdes and Romania as part of her award and found the whole experience ‘humbling and life-giving’.
A total of 457 young people from Derry, Inishowen and Tyrone received awards and congratulating them, Archbishop Brown praised their ‘hard work and commitment’ while Bishop McKeown spoke to them about their goodness and ‘how they were made for great things’.
The awardees represented 22 schools and 47 parishes in the Derry diocese as well as 18 parishes outside the diocese. The ceremony was attended by more than 1,600 people, including family and friends of those receiving the award. All enjoyed an evening of celebration and entertainment centred on the achievements and dedication of the young people gathered. This brings the total number who have received the PJPII Awards now in the diocese to 2,384 and the national figure for young people participating in the award is now over 10,000. For information about this award contact:firstname.lastname@example.org www.popejohnpauliiaward.com #PJPIIAwards