Tag Archives: youth

13 May: Young Saints.

somers.town. pentecost.jpg

Some readers will remember that I like St Aloysius’ Church near Saint Pancras station in London. This window, with Mary at the centre of the Apostles on Pentecost morning arouses mixed emotions though. It is good to see a clear theology of Mary’s place in the Church, receiving the Holy Spirit with – I wish I could say ‘with everyone else’ – but it is with the Apostles only, not the 120 people who were gathered together. Perhaps the artist felt that the picture was crowded enough already, but where is Mary Magdalene, Johanna, the other women and where is John Mark, Paul’s future assistant that he would call his ‘son’ (Colossians 4:10)? He is usually identified with the boy who ran away naked from the garden on Maundy Thursday night, as well as with Mark the evangelist. It was to his mother’s house that Peter went after the angel sprung him from prison. (Acts 12.12) She was another Mary.

The window is not diverse enough to represent the first Church, though a few minutes looking through the clear glass out into the street would assure any visitor that St Aloysius’ is in the midst of diversity today. But there should be more women and more young people in that window!

Saint Aloysius was a Jesuit novice when he died in Rome aged 23, after catching plague from nursing the victims of an epidemic. Not an inappropriate neighbour for Saint Pancras, who was martyred for his Christian faith at Rome on 14 May 304, at the age of fourteen. John Mark, Aloysius and Pancras, young men who were saints. Worth remembering them, and young women saints like Agnes, Lucy and Therese, as we approach the great Synod of Pope Francis. Today’s young Christians are as capable of witnessing to the Gospel message as their parents, grandparents, distant ancestors, and the clergy. Let’s hear their voices.

Keep them in your prayers!

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6 May 2022, Praying with Pope Francis: young people.

Young People gathered in Poland for World Youth Day, 2016

This Month Pope Francis urges us missionaries to pray for faith-filled young people. The Polish Pope, St John-Paul II, was well-known for his devotion to the Mother of Jesus. The Argentinian Pope spells out the practical virtues that the real-life Mary embodied. May all young people receive and exercise the gift of these virtues for themselves and all around them.

We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service. AMEN.

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More from Fair Trade Fortnight

Choose the world you want
‘My children and grandchildren will have a problem growing coffee if current generations don’t take action against climate change.’ Caroline Rono, pictured above on her Fairtrade coffee farm in Kenya
Caroline sent us this vital reminder on the very first day in the Choose The World You Want festival: to choose that fairer world we all want, we can all take action.And Caroline is leading the way. 
Like other Fairtrade farmers we’ve met this week, she’s planted trees on her farm, embraced sustainable energy and taken up training on climate-friendly farming techniques.
Choosing Fairtrade is one way we can join her in taking action. Action that means more power and more income for farmers like Caroline to take on the huge challenges of climate change.In fact, every single event at the Choose The World You Want festival showcases ways we can take action to back the communities most threatened by climate change.
As week two begins, here’s a sneak peak of a few events were really looking forward to.
#1: The Unfair Climate Crisis, 6pm UK time Wednesday 2 March
Around the world it is those on low-incomes, people of colour, indigenous groups, and women feeling the worst effects of climate change.Our expert panel discuss how these deep-seated global injustices are linked, and how we can tackle them together to achieve a fairer future.
Fairtrade Africa’s Kate Nkatha hosts a discussion between climate activist and musician Louis VI, 350.org’s Namrata Chowdhary and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance’s Mithika Mwenda. 
JOIN THIS EVENT
#2: Tony’s and Fairtrade: Choco Quiz and Tasting, 4pm UK time Friday 4 March
Try some top Fairtrade chocolate and test your choco knowledge with this quiz and tasting session, featuring cocoa experts from Tony’s and Fairtrade. Sign up and treat yourself some tasty Tony’s goodies to join the fun.
Host Angel Arutura, anti-racism educator, activist and content creator, joins Fairtrade cocoa producer and livelihood development officer Deborah Osei-Mensah, Tony’s representative Nicola Matthews and Fairtrade Foundation’s David Finlay.
JOIN THIS EVENT 
And from Fairtrade wine tasting sessions with Co-op to an evening of arts, music and storytelling with the Africaniwa tribe, there’s much much more going on in the final week of the Choose The World You Want festival.  
Missed anything from week one? Not to worry, many events are now available to watch in our On Demand section, including a screening of a film featuring Caroline and a question and answer session with her
More ways to get involved
Celebrate the campaigners taking action
Fairtrade campaigners have been pounding the streets and flying the flag for Fairtrade this week. Literally! 
Fairtrade London organised a guided walk around the city on Friday, tracing the links from the transatlantic slave trade to modern global trade inequalities.
Meanwhile in Mossley some wonderfully colourful Fairtrade flags are flying to celebrate ten years of Fairtrade Town status.
 
From a Fairtrade Top of the Shops virtual tour up in Orkney, to a live screening of Fairtrade events in Jerseys public library, there’s been far more creative campaigner action this week than we can celebrate in one email. But keep checking the #FairtradeFortnight and #ChooseTheWorldYouWant hashtags on social media to see the latest.  And if you haven’t already, let us know about any ways youve been celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight. Use this quick form to send us the details and please send any photos through to hello@fairtrade.org.uk

SHARE YOUR FORTNIGHT ACTIVITES 
Visit our youth exhibition
With thousands of Fairtrade schools, universities and colleges across the UK, youth activism is always at the heart of Fairtrade Fortnight. And this year the Fairtrade Youth Exhibition gives young people a chance to find creative ways to call for climate justice.Find more on the Fairtrade Schools website, where you will find many more opportunities for young people to get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight.
Get your MP involved
We’re asking MPs to deliver on the promises they made at COP26. Promises to fund just the type of brilliant grassroots climate-friendly farming initiatives Fairtrade farmers have been telling us about all week. Fairtrade Fortnight is the perfect time to ask your MP to back a fair deal for farmers living with the consequences of a climate crisis they did not cause. Use our quick form to get in touch with your representative.
WRITE TO YOUR MP 
And finally, grab those extra ethical bargains!
Discounts, competitions and special offers on lots of your Fairtrade favourites are coming thick and fast this Fairtrade Fortnight. Visit our website to scout out special offers from the likes of Traidcraft, Ben & Jerry’s and LIDL.
Hope youve enjoyed the first week of the Choose The World You Want festival as much as we did. Have a restful weekend as we gear up for another seven days of celebrating and supporting the climate action of farmers and workers around the world.
Best wishes,
Stefan 
Campaigns Team, Fairtrade Foundation
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Synod Newsletter, February 2022.

#newsletter n.03 – 02/2022 
Hello, how is everything going?
Did you know that, following Pope Francis’ message for the 26th World Day for Consecrated Life, the Congregation for Consecrated and Apostolic Life invited us to reflect on the word “participation” linked to the synodal process? In response to the call, we wanted to know how consecrated persons participate in the synod. We share some of the resources received from all around the world.

Sinodality and Consecrated Life
The Pope Video For religious sisters and consecrated women Via the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer): https://www.popesprayer.va/

Religious missionaries of the Divine Word hope that the Synod will serve “to live the synodal experience in their life and mission wherever they are carrying out their missionary presence”.For more information…

Consecrated life “is the bearer of a great evangelical adventure open to the future and to the breath of the Spirit. It is a demanding and exciting task, a long-term process of conversion.Anne-Marie Grapton, secretary general of Corref (religious of France)
Read more in French…

With his book, Salvatore Cernuzio sheds light on a serious problem within the female consecrated life: the abuse of power, of conscience or sexual abuse within orders, monasteries, and institutes, which leads women and girls to put out the fire of their vocation and to abandon the religious path they have undertaken, even after years. It is they themselves, nuns, or former nuns, who are about to leave or have already left what for years was their “home”, who relate what they have suffered…. Read more

The Synod in the World
AMECA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) and the Jesuits Conference of Africa and Madagascar, are providing resources that will enable the local churches in Africa to engage fruitfully in the synodal process.Read more…

The Maronite Diocese of Antelias in Lebanon and the Bishops’ Conference of India use creative means to encourage the synodal journey and answer the fundamental questions: What is a synod, what are the differences between one synod and the other? Read More…
How to listen to the poorest in the Synod process? The Centre Sévres of Paris has prepared a tool for attentive and fraternal listening so that everyone can have a voice. For more information…

Pray for the Synod
In order to support the synodal journey and ask for the Spirit’s assistance, together with the World Network of Prayers of the Pope and UISG, we have set up a website in 5 languages: Church on the Way. Pray for the Synod. You too can send your prayer. See how to do it… 

In silence, we listen

We come to you, Oh God,
in silence to listen with the ear of the heart 
to the indwelling voice of your Holy Spirit.

We pray for unity of all the poor,
the voiceless, the marginalised and all of those who are excluded.
Gift our bishops with open hearts and ears
to hear the Church, the people of God,
with wisdom, knowledge, patience and courage. Amen.

St. Scholastica Monastery – USA
Share our story!Are you witnessing or living a particular synodal experience? Have you experienced good practice and want to share it? Fill in the attached form and send it to  media@synod.va.
If your story appears to be original or considered a good practice, we will publish it in our next newsletter and who knows… maybe even in VaticanNews!
Radio continues to play a significant role in raising awareness and promoting the Synodal process in Africa. This situation came alive recently as Radio Tumaini – Radio station for the Archdiocese of Mombasa in Kenya hosted a panel of speakers Continue to read…


We need You !
Young People are fresh air moving in the Church around the world, so fundamental to the Synod. Tell us about the experience of your  youth organisation in the synodal process, to share it in Synod Resources.
Latest news
The Secretariat of the Synod met with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.The Spirit continues to overflow from the Amazon two years after Querida Amazonia
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General Secretariat for the Synod of BishopsVia della Conciliazione, 34Vatican City 00120Vatican City State (Holy See)

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2 December: Praying with Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s December Intention for Evangelisation: – Catechists

Let us pray for the catechists, 
summoned to announce the Word of God: 
may they be its witnesses, 
with courage and creativity 
and in the power of the Holy Spirit.



World youth day participants, Poland 2016.

Sister Victoire’s congregation (Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa) is by no means the only group of Sisters who minister as catechists, but we celebrate their contribution to the Church this month. Most catechists are not Sisters, Brothers or Priests but laymen and women. I first got involved as a teenager, preparing country children for their first sacraments, and have been involved in other ways over the years.

This is a ministry that suits many young people, such as those in the lower photograph who were attending the World Youth Days in Krakow five years ago. As Ignatius’ articles here and here show, there are different ways of sharing the faith.

So let’s pray for Catechists, especially those teaching the faith to enquirers and children, people hearing the Word for the first time. May they be true witnesses, with courage and creativity and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, graciously hear us.

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8 October: Primarily a spiritual journey: the Synod starts tomorrow.

Did I say I hoped the documents from the synod would be in clear English? Well, I’ve had a go at making this one clear. It tells about the opening ceremonies in Rome. I’ve reduced it from 10 pages to one; part;y by discarding lists of names and job titles of senior participants. You can follow the ceremonies live on Vatican News.

Opening of the Synodal Process 9-10 October 2021  

Pope Francis will officially open the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican with a Celebration of the Eucharist in St. Peter’s Basilica (Sunday, 10 October), preceded by a Reflection (Saturday, 9 October). Live streamed from 9.00 a.m. on Vatican News (www.vaticannews.va) in 6 languages, on the VaticanNews App, or on VaticanMedia.

Reflection for the start of the synodal process, Saturday 9 October

This will be in two parts: in plenary session and in language groups, including delegates from Bishops’ Conferences, members of the Curia, fraternal delegates, delegates from consecrated life and lay movements, the youth council. Pope Francis will join the first part.

The opening will also be attended by the International Youth Advisory Body made up of young people under the age of 30 from all continents. 

9:00 Enthronement of the Word of God. The procession will include three young people: a man from Portugal will carry the Gospel, a woman from Chile and a man from India will carry candles. The proclamation will be in three languages – A sister from Italy in Italian – A young man from Lebanon in English – A young woman from El Salvador in Spanish. After a period of Silence, Laudate Omnes Gentes is sung. 9:20 Speech by Pope Francis; 9:45 Greeting by Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich, General Rapporteur of the Synod 10:00; Six Testimonies from different continents: to describe how they live their baptismal condition and their ecclesial ministry and what they expect from the Synodal process on Synodality.  

Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Holy Father, Sunday October 10, St Peter’s Basilica at 10.00 a.m.

 The Cardinals and Bishops enter in procession with 25 representatives of the different continents: a visually impaired person; two religious, two young people from the youth ministry, a Congolese family; a permanent deacon with his wife and two children, a young man from the Romanian Latin rite community and one from the Indian Syro-Malabar rite community, a Lebanese Maronite chaplain, an engaged couple and two other couples, a young priest, a young man from the Roman Catholic Church, a young man from the Indian Orthodox Church and a young man from the Italian Orthodox Church. 

THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS 

The General Secretariat is supported by: 

The Orientation Advisory Committee 

The Theological Commission

The Commission on Methodology

The Commission on Spirituality – The Synod is primarily a spiritual journey during which the Church commits itself to listening to the Holy Spirit.

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14 August: Things that have changed my life II.

The second half of the teenagers’ reflections on things that changed their lives. I have avoided analysing their contributions or sermonising on them; I hope each reader can do so for themselves. I do remember that when I pinned up copies of these thoughts on the classroom display boards they were pleased, far more so than I had expected. Clearly these events DID change their lives.

Let us be aware in our dealings with young people, that we can change their lives for good or ill. For the most part, power lives with adults: let us pray for wisdom to use it well.

When my parents got a divorce and I was fostered for a year.

When I got my dog, because I have always wanted a dog.

My brother leaving home. I had to get used to being without him, and I don’ have anybody to help me with my homework.(This was written by a girl.)

Parents treating me differently as I got older, and getting more protective because I am a girl.

My mum getting married again because we had another person to tell us what to do and where to go and when to do it.

My little brother was born when I was ten.

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13 August: Things that have changed my life, I.

July: Things that have changed my life, I.

When I was teaching in school, I once had a class of 13 and 14 year-olds for Religious Studies, an opportunity to reflect, always a priority for Agnellus Mirror. I found this set of notes the other day, their reaction to the question, tell us something, or things, that have changed your life.

It’s time to dust these notes off and share them. And to invite us all to reflect on how much of what we as adults do or don’t do, say or don’t say, helps or hurts the young people we share our lives with as parents, grandparents, relatives, godparents or teachers. Listen to the witness of these youngsters! Read between the lines!

Making new friends at school and leaving my old friends from my old school. My father lost his job abroad and had to come to London to find a new job. He got a job on the railways but he was in digs and we were still in Scotland, so we moved down.

My brother returning from boarding school.

My father dying in hospital.

Moving house because I have to make new friends and go to a new school; leaving my friends behind.

Meeting new people.

Doing my back in.

More from these young people tomorrow.

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20 June, Today this is my vocation, VII: an Island Girl prays upon a June morning.

No rainbow without sunshine! The Skye bridge is a new gateway to the isles.

Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing prayers and reflections from Alistair Maclean’s Hebridean Altars, pearls he harvested from the people of the Isles, a hundred years and more ago. This Island Girl’s prayer fits neatly into our sideways look at vocation in the everyday, as well as belonging in this month’s postings.

This day, I say to myself,
is Thy love-gift to me.
This dawn,
White with the purity of Thy mind,
I take it, Lord, from Thy hand,
and, for the wonder of it,
I give Thee thanks.
Make me busy in Thy service
throughout its hours,
yet not so busy that I cannot sing
a happy song.
And may the South wind
blow its tenderness through my heart
so that I may bear myself gently to all.
And may the sunshine of it
pass into my thoughts,
so that each shall be 
a picture of Thy thought, 
and noble and right.

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11 June: Going Viral LXXX, Summertime

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20210529_125638_resized_20210531_121026828.jpg
Westgate Gardens, Canterbury, May 29, 2021

There have been two times this year when I breathed more freely, both occurred when the weather was fine, but that was not the only reason.

We go back, first of all, to the Monday when schools reopened for all pupils. I don’t know if any homework was set that day, but I was walking through the city around 5.00 p.m. and there was a tangible air of joy around the place. It felt as if every teenager had gone home and dressed in their best and now they were gathering in the parks, on the steps of the theatre, in the disused car park – now adopted by skate-boarders, roller-skaters and people too young legally to use the electric scooters scattered around the town.

Everywhere though, the buzz of face to face chatter. It was so good to witness the love and solidarity bubbling up all around the town.

There followed weeks of inclement weather, a cold, dry, April, a cold, wet May. Dedicated walkers ventured out, many people did not seem to. Then the last long weekend in May that came with a bank holiday Monday was endowed with sunshine and warmth. This picture was taken quite early in the Saturday in one of the big city centre parks. The building in the background is Tower House, official residence of the Lord Mayor. The River Stour flows along the left of the picture behind a stone wall. It is liable to flood in wintertime but now entices young and old to look for fish or feed the ducks. When my grandson was 18 months old he ran across the grass to join some Italian students playing rugby. The lawns are also popular for picnics.

I wonder when we will be welcoming language students again, but that weekend it was good to see our own young people and families enjoying each other’s company. Long may it continue.

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