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Nenagh schoolgirl wins Papal vestment design competition

By Susan Gately - 15 June, 2018

An eleven-year-old schoolgirl from Nenagh has won an art competition sponsored by World Missions Ireland to design a vestment for Pope Francis. Jane Boland’s entry (right) was chosen from over 4,500 entries from 3,000 Catholic primary schools. According to the organisers, the standard was very high and selecting a winner was a hard process.

“We were knocked off our feet by the number of entries, and totally blown away by the standard,” said Julieann Moran, from World Missions Ireland. “However, Jane’s design really jumped out. It depicts so much that’s positive and important in our ever changing world – creativity, community, embracing different cultures, nature, and technology – to name but a few.”

On Wednesday, Ms Moran travelled to Jane’s school, Carrig National School, Ballycommon, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, where she presented the fifth class student with an A2 blow-up of her winning design and tickets for Jane and her family to the five-day World Meeting of Families congress.

A delighted Jane said she was “completely shocked” that she’d been chosen as winner. “I really like Pope Francis. I particularly like how he says that ‘artists make the world better’ because art is my favourite subject. I love to draw and paint. It makes all my worries disappear,” she said. Explaining the design she said: “My design shows that even though we are similar in what we like, we are all very unique and that we’re all connected by one great world.”

Eimear Larkin from World Mission Ireland said that the plan now is to make two vestments using Jane’s design.  “Our aim is to gift one to Pope Francis when he’s here and display the other on the World Mission stall at World Meeting of Families,” she told CatholicIreland.

Asked if the Pope was due to wear the unique vestment during the gathering of families, Ms Larkin replied they didn’t know. “We’d absolutely love it if he did. We thought it would be a really unique and different way for him to remember his time in Ireland and remember the children of Ireland and we know he loves creativity so much.”

Jane Boland with her winning entry for Papal Vestment Design competition.

We can all learn something wonderful from the children who entered the competition, said Julieann Moran. “They care about those less fortunate. They care about their family, about their friends. They care about their communities and their Churches. They care about their planet. In fact, we’d love to see all the entries being made into real vestments to be worn by our priests celebrating Mass. It would certainly bring much colourful conversations, and endless joy!”

World Missions Ireland is the Church’s official charity for overseas mission. They are part of a worldwide network of 120 charities, the Pontifical Missions Societies. Many of their fellow international offices go by the name of “Missio”.

Meanwhile, a fourth national collection for the World Meeting of Families will be taken up at all masses this weekend. The World Meeting of Families 2018 will “mark a very important milestone for Catholicism in Ireland,” the Irish bishops wrote in a statement. “While appreciating the financial demands currently facing families”, the bishops ask the faithful to “contribute generously” to the collection on 16 and 17 June in support of WMOF.

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