On Wednesday, 5th April 2017, over 1,000 young people, who are currently participating or have received the Pope John Paul II Award in the last 10 years, gathered at Knock Shrine to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Award.
Young people from 17 dioceses right across Ireland rose early on Wednesday morning to travel the journey to Knock Shrine in county Mayo. The ceremony started at 11:00am with the welcome liturgy. Pope John Paul II Award participants from each dioceses had a role to play in each of the liturgy.
They had the opportunity to share their experiences of participating in the Pope John Paul II Award, discuss how it impacts on their faith and recognise the special place they have in their Church. At 12 noon, the crowd paused for the Angelus. Afterwards they listened to inspirational talks by the guest speakers and partake in a short Q & A on what the Award means to them. Elma Walsh, mother of the late Donal Walsh gave an inspirational talk on the power of enjoying life, which touched all those in attendance. Elma was given a standing ovation which reflected the enthusiasm for her message Elation Ministries provided inspirational music throughout the day. After lunch we gathered at the Apparition Chapel to listen to a history of Knock & it was followed by a decade of the Glories Mysteries of the Rosary. The day finished with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Basilica with Chief celebrant, Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, Patron of the Award. He was joined by a number of priests from participating dioceses. Mass started with a procession of banners of all those dioceses in attendance and a beautiful liturgical dance. The ceremony concluded at 4pm. A great day was enjoyed by all!