Archbishop Neary presents 545 young people with John Paul II Awards

21 Nov 2017

On Thursday, 16 November 2017, at Our Lady’s Basilica, Knock, Archbishop Michael Neary presented 545 young people from across the Archdiocese of Tuam with their John Paul II Awards.

With over 1,200 people in attendance, Archbishop Neary welcomed the young people, together with their families, friends, teachers, principals, chaplains, priests, and representatives of the various parish and diocesan bodies.  He welcomed local sporting hero Ms Cora Staunton, who came along to support and congratulate the Award recipients.

Speaking to the young people receiving their Award, Archbishop Neary said, “During the year I have been made aware of the very significant contribution which you yourselves have been making in so many ways throughout the length and breadth of the Archdiocese of Tuam.  I have witnessed the way in which you, in your Transition Year projects, have presented various aspects of your local Church and the great pride that you take in your local Church. Your visitation of nursing homes brought great joy and hope to residents through your good humour, your music and song.  At Mass and in the Sacraments many of you have been reading as ministers of the Word, involved in church choirs, others have accompanied young people as they were preparing for Confirmation in the “You Shall Be My Witnesses” programme; you have been role models for younger people who look to you for direction”.

All 545 Award recipients, aged between 16-18 years, received their medal and certificate in recognition their work in schools, parishes, and communities during the past year.  They were involved in everything from publishing a parish prayer book to teaching computers to the elderly, setting up a youth choir in their parish to caring for people with special needs on pilgrimages to Lourdes.

The MC for the occasion was 17 year old Gold Medal recipient, Darragh Kennedy, from Saint Colman’s College, Claremorris.  It was Darragh’s happy duty to offer the congratulations of all to Archbishop Neary on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee as a bishop.  Two Award recipients, one from Rice College, Westport and another from Saint Jarlath’s College, Tuam, presented Archbishop Neary with a specially commissioned half and half Galway and Mayo jersey, bearing the number 25, in recognition his years of episcopal service, and the hashtag #ourfavbishop.

Siobhán Bradley, Diocesan Coordinator of the John Paul II Awards, congratulated the Award recipients saying, “You are a source of great hope and an inspiration to us all”.