Pope John Paul II Award
The John Paul II Award is becoming widely adopted by many schools in the Down & Connor Diocese. Last year, 15 schools took part in the award scheme and this year, 10 more schools have attended recent training so that their pupils can get involved. Ultimately, this means more young people are becoming further nourished in their faith by becoming more active members. The JPII Award was set up as an opportunity for young people to work in their parish, to work in their community/school, to meet other young people, to have fun, to challenge themselves, to use their talents and to learn new skills.
The JPII Award aims to support and celebrate the commitment and enthusiasm of young people who are already actively involved in their church and in their local communities and invite them to reflect on their involvement. It also encourages young people, who are not already involved, to become involved and to receive the benefits that come from living out their faith in a real and tangible way. The Award should indeed make them realise how important they are in their community and parish. It should bring hope and renewed life to those members of our faith community who may be feeling fearful about the future of our Church and finally it gives our clergy the opportunity to further develop their work with young people.
Commitment to the Award is for 16 months, during which time, each young person registers 20 sessions or activities in their parish and 20 sessions or activities in their community or with a charitable or social justice organization. If a young person completes their Award card, fully, then they will receive ‘Gold’ status at the end of the programme. All young people are encouraged to aim for ‘Gold’ as it truly demonstrates their interest, enthusiasm and dedication to the programme.
Many young people got involved in their parish by:
- reading at mass
- joining their parish folk group
- becoming an altar server
- being part of the prayer service
- helping out at their parish’s GIFT programme
Young people got further involved in their community by:
- being part of ‘Street Reach’
- raising money for charity
- attending charitable events/functions
- taking part in the Living Youth Palm Sunday gathering
- attending World Youth Day
- joining Habitat for Humanity
- getting involved in school/community projects
- coaching, peer mentoring, buddying
- helping out at homework clubs
- going on residential
The John Paul II Award Ceremony, 2015, was held in St. Mary’s Church and it was attended by over 400 people. Over 200 young people attended to receive recognition for all the hard work they did over the 16 month period. Bishop Farquhar presented the certificates and medals to all the young people, in attendance. It was a memorable day for all and we are all excited for the next one as there should be even more young people involved. The youth in our society are truly inspiring. Have a look at our gallery by clicking on the link below.