On World Youth Day 2023 thousands of young Catholics from 126 countries will be gathering in Lisbon, Portugal. We’re always inspired by the passion, energy and faith of the young people we meet in our work. Our Regional Community Fundraiser, Dave, shares about a day he spent recently with secondary students in the Clifton Diocese:
Recently I spent the day with the young people from St Augustine’s Catholic College, Trowbridge, St Bede’s Catholic College, Bristol, St Bernadette’s Catholic School, Bristol and St Gregory’s Catholic College, Bath.
These young people came together to learn about Missio as part of their Young Volunteers course. This course is spread over the year with different Catholic charities spending time with the students.
The values of mission
I introduced the students to Missio, and the missionary work we support around the world. We discussed how, as young people in their own Catholic communities, they were an integral part of the global Catholic Church.
We discussed the Red Box and how it is a symbol of faith, hope and love for so many people. The example of the Mill Hill Missionaries inspired the young people to reflect on the values that they aspire to. This was a springboard to create their own giant Red Box to represent how they stand in solidarity with the global Catholic Church, and they added values such as ‘generosity’, ‘charity’, ‘passion’ and ‘respect’ to the piece.
It was such a great opportunity to share about the work of missionaries around the world, who so often go unnoticed while doing their vital work. One student, Adam, shared:
‘It’s been a fun day. I didn’t know that there were missionaries working in challenging conditions. They do amazing work and they’re just living out their faith and sharing the Gospel.’
Forward together in faith
The day ended in prayer as we all gathered around our big Red Box. I presented each school with their own Red Box to keep in their school Chapel as a reminder of their day, and to encourage them to pray for the work of Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries.
Kevin, the Chaplain for St Bede’s & St Bernadette’s shared:
‘It’s been great for the students to gain an understanding of missionary work and how Missio supports the global Catholic community. They can see how they are all part of the Church of today and tomorrow.’
It was a privilege to work with these young people as part of their Young Volunteers course in the Clifton Diocese. They were so enthusiastic and eager to hear more about Missio’s work and how their own volunteering contributes to sharing the Good News of the Gospel.
They are the present and future of the Catholic Church, and it was a pleasure to see them all engage so well with the different activities during the day. I hope that we can continue to work with the School Chaplains in the future.
Pray for young people
Ahead of World Youth Day, the Holy Father drew on Luke 1:39: ‘Mary arose and went with haste’. Mary’s physical response to God’s call: the act of standing up and going out to be with and accompany Elizabeth, is one which resonates for young people who are engaged with mission today.
Pope Francis emphasised that to be ‘in mission’, we must be in action, moving forward to encounter and accompany our sisters and brothers. He sent this message to young people around the world:
‘Dear young people, it is my dream that at World Youth Day you will be able to experience anew the joy of encountering God and our brothers and sisters. After a long period of social distancing and isolation, we will all rediscover in Lisbon – with God’s help – the joy of a fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, an embrace of reconciliation and peace, an embrace of new missionary fraternity! May the Holy Spirit kindle in your hearts a desire to “arise” and the joy of journeying together… Now is the time to arise!’