Olivia (Ollie) Bennett achieved her Pope John Paul II Award for her work in her parish of St Mary’s, Windsor, Berkshire as a pupil of Marist School, Windsor, Berkshire, England. Ollie was presented with the Gold Award by Fr Paul Farren, Award Director at Flame 2019, Wembley Arena, London.
Parish and volunteer activities
In her parish Ollie read regularly at Mass and at her school retreats to Cold Ash Retreat Centre, Thatcham, England. She also trained as a Minister of Holy Communion. A major part of Ollie’s work for her Award was volunteering with the Marist School Chavoin Club where she helped with baking, treasure hunt, drawing and game activities with children with Down syndrome.
During the summer, Ollie also volunteered for a week as a carer on pilgrimage to Lourdes. Ollie explained that her dad Peter, had volunteered many times in Lourdes and often spoke of the great experience he had. She loved the chance to follow in his footsteps. Ollie says ‘I developed many friendships that would last a life time and was certainly a very memorable experience for me. I think this is particularly important for young people as it prepares you not only for life in general but also spiritually and mentally helping you to become a fuller person.’
Ollie is currently completing her A levels and hopes to attend drama school. Reflecting on what she has learnt through participating in the Award, Ollie says ‘it is particularly important for young people to help in the church and take part as it brings ‘a new energy’ and makes it more refreshing for everyone, helping to keep the faith and the church alive.’
Participate in the Pope John Paul II Award
The Pope John Paul II Award is a great way to learn about and participate in your local parish and community. If you are a student of the Marist School and want to find out more about the Award, please contact Miss Vaughan-Neil.