On Tuesday 4 August, I had the opportunity to join the community in Ballymore, Co. Westmeath in welcoming home one of our Special Olympics heroes.  I was more than happy to join gold and silver winning Peter Malynn and I am aware that the tremendous reception he received in his local parish is being replicated throughout Ireland in the tributes and affection extended to all our Olympic heroes.

The initiative to start the Special Olympics by Eunice Shriver 50 years ago has been a great blessing and leads to the profound affirmation of the value of every life.  It is an incentive for young people and adults to discover their potential, to love life and to live it in the fullest possible way.

The enthusiasm and joy of the competitors, as well as their proud families and passionate supporters, speaks volumes.  The accomplishments achieved in Los Angeles are possible only with the practical help and efforts of a great number of people willing to become involved.

I am delighted once again to congratulate all the Special Olympians from the Diocese of Meath and to assure them of my continued prayers and good wishes.

(Bishop Michael Smith)