Our Young People is the working title of a new initiative in the diocese to recreate some kind of outreach to young people of all different ages so that we can somehow inspire young people to sense how the Church and her family might be relevant to their daily lives.
Spring time, just a few short months ago was when a small group of people began to meet with Bishop Francis to look at what possibilities might be feasible at this time and the decision was taken to carry out a survey across the diocese to listen to what people were saying about young people and the Church. There were 2 surveys created, one for adults and one for young people. The adult questionnaires looked at 2 areas.
- What is going well for our young people?
- How can we improve on this?
The questionnaire for young people tried to get a handle on where they were at through 4 different questions;
- How do you spend your free time?
- Describe a time you felt close to God.
- What might help young people to connect with God?
- How would you like to see young people active in your parish?
These questionnaires were distributed out across the diocese to schools and parishes and over the last 4 weeks in the 4 different deaneries, the survey findings were presented back to people who then shared openly in a listening forum to draw out where we might go from here. Generally speaking, the feedback was very positive and the key way forward seems to be around empowering young people to express their views so that they can take real and active ownership of whatever new initiatives might begin to evolve over the months ahead. As Pep Guardiola famously remarked when he became head coach of Barcelona… “…fasten your seat belts, we’re gonna have some fun!….”