– Over 350 young people in the diocese participated in this year’s John Paul II awards
I am delighted to welcome the recipients of this year’s John Paul II awards. It is a justly proud day for you, but also for your parents, grandparents, families and friends. A special welcome too for your teachers, principals, priests, religious, award leaders, parish and diocesan councils.
For over a year you have been working towards your award. During that time you have acquired a deeper insight into, and knowledge of, the people who form the Church in your local area. You know more about their work, how they think, pray, and fulfil their responsibilities as individuals, families, and members of society. In this way you have grown closer to Jesus Christ as the One who inspires those people and has influenced yourself.
The relationship works two ways. People have got to know you better, are influenced by what you are doing and the spirit in which you do it. You will notice from your experience that both yourselves and others work as a team, that team spirit is very important.
You have been challenged to give of your time, talents, intellect, and skills as you took an active part in the life of the Church. As a result you have grown in your appreciation and understanding of Church. There is undoubtedly great idealism and generosity, but this needs to be challenged, and when challenged it thrives as it is in the John Paul II awards.
I commend you all on your achievement. You have had the opportunity to reflect more deeply on your faith and have the courage to bear witness to it in situations involving your peers. It is my fervent hope that you will go forward from here to bring joy and hope to the life of the Church in your local parish area and beyond.
Our Diocesan Youth Director, Siobhán Bradley, has done Trojan work in preparing over 350 young people to participate in these awards. Siobhán, with others, has planned this most impressive and joyful evening. As a diocese we are very indebted to the Knights of Saint Columbanus for their powerful support for the John Paul II Awards. In particular I wish to express our appreciation to the Supreme Knight, Barry McMahon.
May I take this opportunity to bless you, and to wish you all well on your faith journey as exemplary witnesses to the mission of the Gospel.
· Archbishop Michael Neary is the Archbishop of Tuam. This address was delivered yesterday, 17 November 2016.
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