John Paul II Awards
Last week, four students from Poetry along with the Rector, Fr. Michael Sheil sj and our Pastoral Coordinator, Ms Anne Marie Dolan travelled to the Seven Oaks’ Hotel, Carlow to be recipients at the John Paul II Award Ceremony. James Tyrell, Jack Savage, Frank Keating and Sean McMahon were among over 150 students receiving an award for successfully completing a stage in the John Paul II Award. They represented 38 parishes and 27 schools across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Through the Pope John Paul II Award, young people in the diocese are enabled to take an active part in the life of their Church and community.
The award consists of two parts and there are four tiers of achievement. To receive the award, a candidate must actively contribute in their parish and community for at least one hour a week for the number of weeks required by the level of the award. The Bronze Award demands 8 weeks, the Silver 14, the Gold 20 and the Papal Cross 26. However, the Papal Cross can only be achieved if the Gold Medal has already been completed. The award is in its fifth year of running and just over 1,000 students nationwide have participated.
The four of us had successfully completed our Gold Awards and two weeks ago, we had received our invitations to the Dolmen Hotel. Following some brief introductions three of the awardees were interviewed about their experiences. Jack was one of the chosen three and he held the room’s attention as he spoke about his work in the Clongowes T.E.F.L Programme as well as Social Outreach.
When the interviews had concluded, the business of giving out the awards commenced. Despite the seemingly overwhelming number of recipients, we got through it with surprising ease. Ms Dolan, in her role as Awards Leader, presented each of us with our medals. Accompanying our medal was a Certificate of Completion. With these in hand, we sat back and listened to the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Most Reverend Denis Nulty conclude the night. He encouraged us to continue our involvement with our local parish and community and wished us all the best. The ceremony finished with the ‘Spirit of Kandle’ choir singing ‘I can only Imagine & Live for Today’.
In my opinion, the John Paul II Award is an excellent innovation, which allows Transition Year (TY) students to really make the most of their year. I got involved in T.E.F.L and Social Outreach as part of my Award and I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. I would highly recommend the Award to any TY Student who wishes to broaden their horizons and really give something back during Transition Year
Pictured above are Sean McMahon, Jack Savage, Bishop Nulty, Ms Anne Marie Dolan James Tyrell and Frank Keating.
‘Trust Christ; listen attentively to his teachings, fix your eyes on his face, persevere in listening to his Word. Allow him to focus your search and your aspirations, all your ideas and the desires of your heart’. – St. John Paul II.