Synod 2018 on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment

A document released by the Pre-Synodal Meeting of Young People was presented in the Vatican last month, following a week-long meeting opened in the presence of Pope Francis.

The Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” will take place in the Vatican in October 2018.

The document is divided into three parts: the first part deals with the challenges and opportunities of young people in today's world; the second on faith and vocation, on discernment and on the accompaniment of young people; the third on the Church's formative and pastoral activities.

Approximately 15,300 young people from around the world took part in the meeting - physically or virtually - representing their peers all over the world.

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If you would like to read the document it can be found here and includes lots of useful insights into the reality of young people.

For instance, it notes about the formation of personality that: 

Young people look for a sense of self by seeking communities that are supportive, uplifting, authentic and accessible: communities that empower them. We recognise places that are helpful for the development of their personality, namely family, which occupies a privileged position. In many parts of the world, the role of elders and reverence for one’s ancestors are contributing factors to the formation of their identities. However, this is not shared universally, as traditional family models in other places are in decline. This leads to young people suffering as well. Some young people move away from their family traditions, hoping to be more original than what they see as “stuck in the past” and “old fashioned.” On the other hand, in some parts of the world, young people seek identity by remaining rooted within their family traditions and striving to stay true to the way they were raised.

The Church therefore needs to better support families and their formation.

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Later on it reflects on the pressures of work and prospects for the future, saying:

In some parts of the world, the only way to attain a secure future is to receive higher education or work excessively. While this is a commonly held standard, it is not always possible due to a variety of circumstances young people find themselves in. This idea is a prevalent notion and has consequently affected our understanding of work. Despite this reality, young people wish to affirm the inherent dignity of work. Sometimes, we end up discarding our dreams. We are too afraid, and some of us have stopped dreaming. This is seen in the many socio-economic pressures that can severely drain the sense of hope among young people. At times, we have not even had the opportunities to keep dreaming.

For this reason, young people seek to engage with and address the social justice issues of our time. We seek the opportunity to work towards building a better world.

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It also references the issue of mental health and young people - which we are currently running a National Campaign on - the document states: 

Many young people have experienced great traumas in a variety of ways. Many still suffer under the weight of mental illness and physical disabilities. The Church needs to better support us and provide avenues to assist us in our healing.

The document is well worth a full read and should hopefully be an excellent springboard into the October Synod.

79th National Council To Be Held on 28th April

The YCW will be holding our 79th National Council on 28th April 2018, at St Monica's RC Church in Flixton, Manchester.

The National Council draws together members, companions and national leaders from across the country to provide training, plan for the future, as well as the official aspects of the Council itself - approving the accounts and resolutions put before the members.

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The day itself will consist of the formal Council (YCW members only) from 10am-2pm (lunch included), training (YCW and IMPACT! members) in the afternoon incorporating the results from the SEE stage of our National Campaign, Mind! the Gap.

Mass will follow the training at 5:30pm and bring our day to a close. 

Formal dress is encouraged for the National Council and you must be registered as a member to vote. YCW individual membership is £15 (£5 for the unwaged) for the year. 

Once attendance has been confirmed emails will be sent containing requests for nominations, resolutions and recommendations.

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National President Kate Wilkinson said: "National Council is one of the most important dates in our YCW calendar. It is where young people show their leadership skills, step up and take responsibility but also share their thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm with others. I hope to see as many of our members and adult companions there as we look to build upon our National Campaign on mental health and young people."

Full details: St Monica's RC Church, Woodsend Rd South, Flixton, Manchester, M41 6QB - 10am-5:30pm

SEE Stage Of "MIND! The Gap" Comes To A Close

The YCW in England and Wales launched our national campaign on young people and mental health - called MIND! The Gap - back in January of this year. 

Our first stage, the SEE part, involved Groups exploring the general issues faced by young people through resources and discussions. The feedback was captured by an online survey, which we were greatly encouraged to see gathered over 1100 responses from young people across England and Wales. 

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We are currently going through these responses to help shape the next part of our campaign. This will involve JUDGE aspects of the YCW method and help deepen our understanding of the issues.

Marc Besford, National Training and Development Worker said: "Firstly, can I just thank all those young people who took the time to share their thoughts about this important topic. I think we can see from the overwhelming response to the survey that this issue is something we cannot ignore. Please keep up your discussions and hard work as we enter the JUDGE stage soon."

Happy Easter From The YCW

On behalf of all of us at the YCW in England and Wales, we would like to wish you all a happy and holy Easter.

Can we also thank all those who supported our weekly Lenten Mass at St Anthony's Church and all the Groups who made use of our Lenten resource. We hope this helped you prepare for Easter.

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Sandbach YCW IMPACT Group Supporting Refugees

Earlier this month, the YCW National Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, went to visit the Sandbach IMPACT Group to discuss their continuing action to support Refugees and how they were using Lent as a time to reflect.

The Group have been raising money since last year to aid efforts for a Parish refugee sponsorship scheme, initiated by the IMPACT Group. So far, they have raised over £3000 for this worthwhile initiative.

This followed their work last October to raise money for the refugees fleeing Myanmar/Burma.

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The Group also took the time to use the YCW Lenten Resource around Lent and explore some of the content around Jesus' Temptation in the Wilderness.

Marc Besford commented on the visit: "Lent is that special time of prayer, sacrifice, good  works and preparation for the wonderful celebration of Easter. Many people use the forty days of Lent as a time of soul searching or sacrifice. Others use the time to take up something new like good works or acts of charity. But Lent can also be a time for us to consider how we might live out our faith in our everyday lives.

Sandbach IMPACT Group have embodied all of these virtues and I look forward to visiting again soon."

St Anthony's IMPACT Group Lenten Action

St Anthony's IMPACT Group in Sunderland have been using their Lenten alms giving efforts to respond to their Faith Festival held in the school last December.

The pupils at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy have put their charity thinking hats on once again for their annual Lenten alms giving. This has brought back memories of the school’s December ‘Faith Festival’ culminating in the Christmas Charity Market, when over £1,000 was raised for various charities.

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This was the school’s fourth Faith Festival and it has grown in size every single year since its infancy in 2013. During the week a number of guests spoke of how faith has affected them in their lives to a captive audience of St Anthony’s pupils.

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Visitors included Claire from the Missio charity who spoke of the work of Christ through the youth of the Church; Cloud Singh from the Newcastle Sikh Gurdwara who discussed Sikh beliefs and women’s roles in the faith and our daily ‘Faith Chat’, a chance for pupils to ‘speed date’ through different faiths and take part in small group discussions with members of varying faiths.

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The week long event produced some fantastic feedback from the pupils who felt ‘energised’ and ‘really excited about faith’. The culmination of this week was our Christmas Charity Market, which was hugely successful, raising over £1000 for various charities including CAFOD and Manzini Care.

The Group are already in planning for their fifth festival and rumours are, it will be their biggest and best yet!

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