Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, launched the John Paul II Award on 22 June 2016, in the Diocese of Meath. 15 young people from St Ciarán’s Community School in Kells Co. Meath were awarded the Gold Award by Bishop Smith in recognition of their active participation in the life of their parish and community.
Meath is the 21st diocese in Ireland to run the Award since it was created in 2006.
The award ceremony was held in the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells. Guests attended from the parishes and schools in the Diocese along with students from a number of parish youth groups and representatives from the national offices of Trocaire and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Diocesan Director Sean Wright led the evening which saw Barry McMahon, Supreme Knight of the Knights of St Columbanus, speak on the Orders commitment to young people expressed through their support of the John Paul II Award. Keynote speaker at the event was Elma Walsh, mother of the late Donal Walsh, who spoke to the group on the impact that her son has had as a result of just a few minutes of air time and of the great things that all can accomplish. Other speakers at the event included Fr Paul Farren from the Diocese of Derry, the founder of the Award, and Jeanette Carry, the Programme Award Leader in St Ciarans Community School.