The Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo with President Michael D. Higgins
The recently-appointed Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, will be the guest of honour when the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan will present over 110 students from seven different schools across the Diocese with their Pope John Paul II Award medals at Ss Peter and Paul's Church in Clonmel next week.
The ceremony takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, 29th September.
The award is now in its fifth year in this diocese.
Run in many dioceses across the country for ten years, the Pope John Paul II Award is a programme that encourages young parishioners to get involved in their community and parish, and is part of the parish commitment to enhancing the lives of young people on their journey through faith.
Archbishop Okolo is from Kano in Nigeria, where he entered the priesthood in 1983.
The new Papal Nuncio is originally from the diocese of Onitsha, Nigeria, where the first bishop was Joseph Ignatius Shanahan (1871-1943) of Borrisoleigh, Tipperary.
Archbishop Okolo previously served as an apostolic nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad in 2008, and then as the Pope's diplomatic representative to the Dominican Republic in 2013.
The schools and parishes involved in the award are CBS High School, Loreto and Presentation schools in Clonmel; Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore; Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir; Scoil Mhuire, Greenhill, Carrick-on-Suir and Blackwater School in Lismore.
Bishop Cullinan, at his appointment as patron of the Award before his Episcopal Ordination said “What a joy it was to meet the John Paul II Awards group before and on the day of my Episcopal ordination on April 12th 2015.
“Many visitors on that day spoke about this wonderful group of ‘youngsters’ who were extremely friendly, helpful and efficient.
“I am delighted to support the Pope John Paul II Awards for our Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, and wish every blessing on all who participate.
“I am very confident it will be of great help to all who participate and produce much good for the whole family of the diocese.”
Diocesan coordinator, Fr. Michael Toomey, Ss Peter and Paul's, said he was literally "astounded" at the enthusiasm and commitment all students had given and put into this award.
Fr. Michael said “the feedback from the students has been so open and honest that it makes very good reading for priests, parish councils and schools in how to get their enthusiasm and energy back into the church.
“This award helps everyone to do that.”
The award allows students to assist in many parish and community ministries, and they in turn gain many experiences and talents, which enhance their spiritual and personal development.