To help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Pope John Paul II Awards, 1,000 young people, who are currently participating or have received the award in the last 10 years, gathered at the Knock Shrine on 5th April.
The award was launched in Derry in 2006 by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Lazarotto. It was never imagined that the award would spread beyond the diocese, but it has now been introduced into 22 dioceses in Ireland. The Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, England, have also introduced the award. In the last ten years, 25,000 young people have enrolled in the award. It was acknowledged recently, that the Pope John Paul II Award is the largest youth movement in the Church in Ireland.
The day in Knock provided young people from different dioceses with the opportunity to share their experiences of participating in the Pope John Paul II Award, discuss how it impacts on their faith and recognises the special place they have in the Church. They had time to pray together, to listen to an inspirational talk by Elma Walsh, mother of Donal Walsh (http://donalwalshlivelife.org) and to celebrate the Eucharist. Chief celebrant was Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, Patron of the Award. He was joined by a number of priests from participating dioceses.
Music was provided by Elation Ministries and there was a special performance from singer Niamh McGlinchey, a former recipient of the award.
At the end of October 2017, there will be a Pope John Paul II Award pilgrimage to Rome, to continue the celebrations of the tenth anniversary.
For further information, contact
Pope John Paul II Award Head Office
Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre
The Gate Lodge,
2 Francis Street,
Tel: +44 (0)2871 264087 (UK international code)
From ROI: 048 71 264087
These photos give a snapshot of this wonderful celebration in Knock to celebrate 10 years of the Pope John Paul II Award.
Photo credit: Stephen Latimer