About the Award

The Award was created to commemorate the late Pope John Paul II who was so committed to young people and who had such belief and confidence in them.

Through the Pope John Paul II Award, young people will be enabled to take an active part in the life of their Church, in the life of their community and society and also become more aware of the teaching and role of the Catholic Church in the world. This will enable young people to engage at a deep level with Christ, whose body the Church is.

It will allow young people to understand that religion and faith is not just for learning, nor is it a list of rules, but that it is for living.

Who is the Award for?

  • Students in Year 13 in Northern Ireland
  • Students in 4th Year in Republic of Ireland
  • Students in full-time education who have completed GCSEs or Junior Certificate
  • Students in Transition Year
  • Anyone between the age of 16 and 18, not in post-primary education
  • The award is non-competitive, flexible and voluntary and requires an ongoing commitment

How many Awards are there?

There are four Awards: The Papal Cross, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

How do I enrol in the Award?

Download an application form from the site. You should then return the completed form with the enrolment fee to your Award leader in your school/parish.

Is there an enrolment fee?

Yes, there is an enrolment fee. Please refer to your Award leader.

What is the completion time?

16 months beginning in September.

What exactly do I do to earn an Award?

You earn your Award by taking part in activities through Parish Involvement and Social Awareness, and preparation of Presentation.

What happens next?

When your enrolment is processed you will receive your Record Card from your Award leader. You will decide with your Award leader what activity or activities you intend to carry out under the sections ‘Parish Involvement’ and ‘Social Awareness’. Please be sure that the named facilitator signs your Record Card each time. The presentation is to be completed at the end of the tasks.

How do I claim my Award?

On completion of the hours and the presentation, you should return your Record Card and presentation to the Award leader. These are ratified by the school principal and forwarded to the Pope John Paul II Award Committee.

How do Schools and Parishes Enrol?

If your school or parish has not enrolled, you should ask a representative to contact the Central Office at:
Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre
Telephone: 028 7126 4087 (from Republic of Ireland: 00 44 28 7126 4087)
or email:

Parish Involvement

When we are baptised we become members of the Body of Christ. This means that we are called to be the presence of Christ in the world. As the Body of Christ, we belong to the community of the Church. We live out this belonging in our parish. For the Church, for the Body of Christ to be fully alive everybody needs to be actively involved. There are many things we can do in our parish.

Examples of activities in the parish that can be done for the Award are:

  • Reading at Mass
  • Altar Server
  • Eucharistic Minister
  • Member of choir/folk group
  • Church decoration
  • Collector
  • Composing prayers of the faithful
  • Preparing articles for the parish bulletin
  • There may be other activities that you are involved in that are not included here but may be relevant, if so please contact the Pope John Paul II Award Committee for approval.

Social Awareness

As members of the Body of Christ, through baptism, we make Christ present by the way we treat others. Our faith is lived out most fully in our actions, that is why it is important to be aware of the needs of others and to minister to their needs. That is why ‘Social Awareness’ is such an important aspect of this Award.

Examples of activities in the area of Social Awareness that you could do for your Award are:

  • Member of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Spread
  • Faith and Light
  • Working in a youth club
  • Ongoing fundraising
  • Regular visitation of residential homes
  • Faith Friends
  • There may be other activities that you are involved in that are not included here but may be relevant, if so please contact the Pope John Paul II Award Committee for approval.

Award Top-Ups

Award Top-Ups are given in recognition of the extra activities that young people are already involved in. Top-Ups will go towards the total number of hours an individual has to complete.

Top-Ups can be achieved in a number of ways, for example - helping with the sick pilgrims at Lourdes or working on behalf of Children in Crossfire. These activities will gain participants Award Top-Ups:
Papal Cross: 7.5 hours
Gold: 6 hours
Silver: 4.5 hours
Bronze: 3 hours

There may be other activities that you are involved in that are not included here but may be relevant, if so please contact the Pope John Paul II Award Committee for approval. Participating Diocese may also have suggestions.

Preparing the Presentation

When the participant completes the Parish Involvement and the Social Awareness sections of the Award he/she prepares a presentation. This presentation may be written (approx 1500 words) or through an interview (interview conducted by the Award leader, recorded, then transcribed).

The Presentation is to include:
  • An answer to the question - What does it mean to be a baptised member of the Church?
  • A personal reflection and evaluation on your parish involvement and social awareness work
  • Your reflection on how the teachings of Christ are relevant to your chosen activities
  • Conclusion

Through the Presentation, the participant will show a knowledge and understanding of what they did within the context of the Church. Their role within the Church will become more apparent. Click here to download a copy of the presentation guidelines.

Participating Dioceses

The Awards


Educational Resource


The 'Faith in Action' resource contains four weeks of engaging lesson material for the Pope John Paul II Award. Students are then encouraged to spend another four weeks carrying out action projects within their communities... Read More »