By Sean Ryan - 02 September, 2017
A pioneering Limerick City-based priest who has become a champion for young people in the city has been awarded the Limerick Person of the Month for July.
Fr Chris O’Donnell made national headlines when a campaign was launched by hundreds of young people appealing to Pope Francis to keep him in Limerick. The campaign included a number of Tweets sent to Pope Francis asking him to keep Fr O’Donnell in Limerick. Fr O’Donnell is due to move to Dublin for 12 months to help write a new religious education textbook.
Speaking at the award ceremony in the Clayton Hotel in Limerick City, Fr O’Donnell, director for youth ministry for the Diocese of Limerick, said “Any work with youngsters is a joy. We are blessed to have them. They deserve this because they are absolutely smashing youngsters and I am just blessed to have them in my life. I would count them as my friends. I would hate to lose contact with them.”
He added: “I sort of feel a bit of a hypocrite getting an award for this because it is such a privilege and I would be very conscious that there are youth workers, teachers, nurses and doctors working with young people in even more caring ways. We are privileged, really privileged.”
Congratulating Fr O’Donnell on his award, the Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy said: “this really is good news for the ‘young church’ here in the diocese. The monthly Limerick Person of the Year award as I have experienced in my time here goes to people who have really stood out and done something notable. That our diocesan youth ministry team, led by Fr Chris O’Donnell and Aoife Walsh and others working in the programme, would be selected as one of the monthly winners speaks volumes about their work. It’s a great fillip for the diocese, for youth ministry here and will, no doubt, embolden all involved for the future.”