The awards were formally launched in the Diocese by Bishop Michael in Kells on Wednesday 22 June 2016. The awards had been piloted by students from St. Ciarans Community School in Kells and 15 students were awarded with Gold medals at the ceremony.

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 Br. Barry McMahon, Supreme Knight of the Knights of St. Columbanus, explaining the orders commitment to young people expressed through their support of the John Paul II awards. Ms Elma Walsh spoke to the group about the impact that her son, Donal, has had as a result of just 19 minutes of air time and of the great things that we are all capable of. Fr. Paul Farren, Diocese of Derry, the founder of the awards spoke about the importance of there being opportunities for young people not just in the future but also in the here and now before presenting Bishop Michael with a certificate launching the awards in the Diocese of Meath. Jeanette Carry, the Programme Awards Leader in St. Ciarans then spoke about the impact of the award within the parish and the school before Bishop Michael presented the students with their awards. Bishop Michael spoke of the great impact that this programme can have in engaging young people in the work of the Church and in releasing their potential.

The evening then was the culmination of the pilot programme which saw the structures set in place for the roll out of the programme throughout the Diocese in September.

Further information about the programme may be found by contacting the Diocesan Director Seán Wright on 086 8300334 or by e-mail at You can also find more information at

(Sean Wright, 2016)