The Pope John Paul II Award Ceremony for Kildare and Leighlin diocese took place on Wednesday 6th December in St. Peter and Paul’s Church, Portlaoise. The evening was an opportunity for parishes, schools and families to celebrate all the ways in which the 313 recipients representing 41 parishes achieved their Award. An array of activities were mentioned which highlighted the involvement of the young people both in the 29 schools who participated and the wider communities. There was a particular focus on all the parish ministries that the young people took part in. Their parish ministry roles varied from Ministers of the Word, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Sunday School leaders, Altar Servers, Altar Society, Composing Prayers of the Faithful, Stewarding and Parish social media updates to name but a few.

There was a peaceful atmosphere in the church as Monsignor John Byrne welcomed everyone to Portlaoise and opened the evening with a prayer. Fr. David Vard shared a personal testimony with the full church and following this he was presented with his Papal Cross Award by Bishop Denis Nulty. This marked the beginning of the presentation of the Awards. Bishop Denis presented the 16 Bronze, 13 Silver, 232 Gold and 52 Papal Cross Awards to each recipient as well as a gift to each of the 40 Award Leaders based in schools and parishes. The ceremony marked the achievements of these young people and their parishes over the last year.

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