Earlier this year, the YCW National Team visited the North East to catch up with existing groups and support the growth of new ones. From this, 3 parishes in Stockton were approached about how they could help with this and invited the YCW to speak at their Sunday masses.
Marc Besford, National Training and Development Worker, returned this month to Stockton to share what they YCW is and does, and how we are developing young Christian leaders. He spoke about his own experience, saying: "I first set up a group in my own parish in Billingham three years ago and I have witnessed them grow in confidence and in faith. As leaders one example of authentic Christian action they undertook using the method was to help the local foodbank.
They identified that the growing use of the foodbank was a major issue and, having done some research, found that it wasn’t just people on benefits that used it but people who were in work and on low incomes - many of whom had families and struggled to feed them.
By then looking at Matthews Gospel and the words of Jesus - “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” - they then spoke at all the Masses over the weekend and collected items for a month. The group took the collection down personally and helped with bagging up some of them items for families and they learnt that it wasn’t as easy as people may think."
By sharing this experience, it is important for young people themselves giving witness to being leaders, inspired by the message of the Gospel.
As a result of the talks over the weekend, the parishes identified 3 new adult companions who could lead new groups from next month.