As part of the parish’s Hope in the Future Programme, the Salvete and Communications Groups are looking at how they might be more welcoming and in touch with our young people.
Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive) is the name of a recent letter written by Pope Francis to Young People, in which he calls us all to reflect on the young and for the young. The figures in brackets relate to paragraphs in his letter.
He emphasises that the young are the present of the Church not merely its future, and call us to prayerful and attentive listening to them.
‘Each young person’s heart should thus be considered ‘holy ground’, a bearer of seeds of divine life, before which we must ‘take off our shoes’ in order to draw near and enter more deeply in the Mystery.’ (68). Pope Francis further suggests we should work together inter-generationally. ‘We adults can often be tempted to list all the problems and failings of today’s young people.’ ‘But what would be the result of such an attitude? Greater distance, less closeness, less mutual assistance.’ (66) Instead ‘Our institutions should provide young people with places they can make their own. Where they can come and go freely, feel welcome, and readily meet other young people. Whether at times of difficulty and frustration, or of joy and celebration.’ (218)
His plea is that: ‘the Church sets aside narrow preconceptions and listens carefully to the young, this empathy enriches her, for it allows young people to make their own contribution to the community, helping it to appreciate new sensitivities and to consider new questions’ (65)
In response, the Salvete & Communications groups have called their first focus group meeting, with young people aged 11-16, pupils from St Augustine’s High School, to take place on 8th May. The aim is to develop new types of links between the focus group and the church’s offering and community.
The meeting will start by hearing what the current Church means to the young people, hearing what motivates and attracts them, listening to which aspects of the Church are of interest and finally exploring some ideas for new activities and actions that hopefully will be led by young people, accompanied by others.
Please pray for positive fruits from the meeting that might guide us towards a more youthful and inclusive Church. We look forward to feeding back the progress in a future newsletter.