THE CIVIC, community and spiritual core of Limerick is in good hands with the youth of the diocese, according to the organiser of the John Paul II Award programme for the Diocese of Limerick.
The programme, which is a non-competitive faith achievement award for young people aged between 16 and 18, fosters a sense of civic, community and Christian spirit in parishes.
It is committed to helping young people enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development through participation in school, parish and community activities.
Created to commemorate the late Pope Saint John Paul II, who was recognised the world over for his commitment to young people, the programme has now completed two years in Limerick Diocese and, said Ms O’Connor, is giving a real insight into the character of young Limerick people.
“This is our second year running the Award in the Diocese following the pilot in Kilfinane in 2016/2017,” she said, “the transformative nature of the Award continues to amaze me. The young people write about how their involvement opens up a whole new experience of being part of their community and making a contribution.”
“Relationships within their community and within their families are deepened, there is something very profound about what they get from their participation.”
Some 42 young people received 2019 awards from Bishop Brendan Leahy, eight of whom received the Papal Cross Award, which is the highest-level Award. Young people from Scoil Pól, St Munchin’s College, Coláiste Nano Nagle, Laurel Hill Coláiste, Laurel Hill Secondary School, Ardscoil Rís and Templeglantine and Tournafulla/Mountcollins parishes participated.
Bishop Brendan Leahy said: “St Catherine of Sienna said, ‘If you are what you are meant to be, you’ll set the world on fire’. I think the JPII award recipients showed real initiative and can set the world on fire by the way they are helping others, getting involved and spreading goodness. Participating in the Award has such potential to bring richness to their local communities and to themselves. For many there is a realisation that young people have a significant role to play in the Church, that gives me great hope for the future.”