FIFTY young people from across Limerick have received special John Paul II Awards for selfless work in their local parishes and communities.
The John Paul II medals were presented by Bishop Brendan Leahy at an event in Scoil Pól in Kilfinane and were the first since the outbreak of Covid and the fourth ever to be awarded in Limerick.
It is a non-competitive, inclusive and voluntary award programme for young people aged between 16 and 18, focusing on youth activity in the church as well as in community and society.
Bishop Leahy said: “The work they have been doing in their local areas is tremendous and brings such richness to their parishes, their local communities and to themselves.”
On the community side, recipients shopped for the elderly, got involved in tidy towns, sports coaching with younger kids and visited nursing homes.
On the parish side, recipients engaged in folk groups, Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist, decorating the Church for Christmas, Easter, stewarding, sanitising and creative liturgies.
Nine young people received the Papal Cross Award, which is the highest-level award and can only be achieved once the person has already achieved a Gold Medal.
Some 32 young people received Gold Medals while six Silver Medals were also handed out. Three Bronze Medals were also awarded at the event.
Young people took part from the parishes of Kilfinane, Kilmallock/Ballingaddy, Ballylanders, Bulgaden/Martinstown, Hospital, Glenbrohane, Bruree, Effin/Garrienderk, Ardpatrick, Glenroe/Ballyorgan, Fedamore, Dromin/Athlacca and Holy Rosary.
The award leaders were Sr Patricia Coughlan and Margaret Convey, supported by Principal Mike O’Hara in Scoil Pól, Kilfinane and Victor Leyden in Ardscoil Rís.
Gold Medal recipient, Ciara O’Riordan, said that participating in the programme has been a “pivotal moment” in her life.
“Being involved in the JPII Award has been a life changing experience for me.
“Realising that I can make a difference has awakened a sense of pride and belonging in me. This is something I will always treasure,” she said.
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