Pope John Paul II Award goes global

Archdiocese of Birmingham launches JPII Award

A youth award that began in Derry nearly eight years ago to encourage teens to get involved in their local parish, has followed national success by launching overseas for the first time this month.

The Pope John Paul II Award, first created by Fr Paul Farren in Derry diocese and funded by the Knights of Columbanus, has been launched in the Archdiocese of Birmingham after expressions of interest from Birmingham Catholic Youth Service.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham said that through the award, “I know that our young people will be encouraged to reflect on their relationship with Jesus Christ more deeply, knowing that our Lord will also enable them to participate fully in the life of the Church and the world which we are all called to serve”.

The award is already running in 18 dioceses in Ireland and according to Yvonne Rooney, the Youth Ministry Coordinator in Derry who went to Birmingham to train school chaplains and parish co-ordinators, a neighbouring diocese in Britain is also showing interest.

“They told us what attracted them was the age group the award targets, 16-18, which is the most difficult age to engage and most absent in their parishes. They also liked the time structure and that there is an end goal in sight, and that it has worked here, with over 10,000 young people coming through the award,” she said.