Youth awards will help Catholic community to realise Pope Francis’ vision

The ‘Celebrating Young People Awards’ are open for nominations. They are being offered as an opportunity to respond to Pope Francis’ recent letter, ‘Christus Vivit’.

 Million Minutes CEO, Danny Curtin explains: “Pope Francis has written to the young people of the world, calling them to ‘fight for the common good, serve the poor’ and to bring about the ‘revolution of charity and service’. He calls on the Church to support and encourage all young people in their mission. These awards are a timely opportunity to respond to the Pope’s call, and to show the young people in our midst that we value their commitment to bring the Gospel alive in the world today”.

 The awards honour the achievements of young people across the country who make our communities and the world a better place. There are six award categories, which take their inspiration from Catholic social teaching and recognise the enormous, often unseen, social action of young people. 

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 Georges Wisoba (24) and Lucien Nzabandora (25) from St Vincent’s parish in Nechells, Birmingham received the Joseph Cardijn award in 2017. Lucien is encouraging others to nominate young people this year.  Reflecting on the difference the award made to him, he explained: Receiving the Joseph Cardijn award meant everything to us. Just the thought of being recognised and shortlisted was more than what we could have asked for. The award increased our confidence. The greatest thing for me was seeing so many young Catholics, especially those making changes in their communities come together for an evening of celebrations”.

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 Zoë Ray (18) and Hannah Rai (18) from St Mary's Catholic School in Newcastle received the 2017 Jimmy Mizen award for their commitment to promoting peace and solidarity among young people of different religions and backgrounds. Zoë is urging this year’s award nominees to be confident in themselves and their successes. She says “Take your nomination as a sign you're doing something right. Use this confidence to take your causes further. Set bigger goals, be ambitious. Remember you have a community behind you and you are on the right track. Overall be proud of yourselves, I am thankful there are young people today who are working to secure a more peaceful future, and moreover, making the world a better place.”

 Parishes, schools and individuals are invited to nominate young people aged 11-25, who will all be invited to a ceremony in London’s West End in July. Cardinal Vincent Nichols will be the guest of honour and will present the Pope Francis Award, the overall youth award.  There is also a category for inspiring youth leader.

 Nominations are open now at www.millionminutes.org/awards. The deadline for nominations is the 24 May 2019.

200,000 minutes of silence to speak up for voiceless young people

Parishes, schools, organisations and individuals have joined together throughout Lent 2019 to support to young people, and help raise money to change their lives. Thousands of people taken part in Million Minutes’ ‘siLENT’, creating 195,495 minutes of silence. Their silence has given voice for those young people who are overlooked and silenced in today’s world.

Participants were sponsored for their silence, raising thousands of pounds for youth led social action projects, which help to transform young people’s lives across the country. Just last month siLENT money supported a project for young people from a special needs school in Manchester. The young people are creating an allotment – which is in itself a great thing – but the fruit and vegetables they grow will be shared with local refuges and asylum seekers, who are seeking safety in the area.

Million Minutes' Director Danny Curtin said: "I'm delighted that once again young people and their adult supporters have clocked up hundreds of thousands of minutes of silence! What a testimony to how committed our Catholic community is to young people. Pope Francis, in his letter last month, ‘Christ is Alive’, encouraged the Church to find new ways to reach out to young people and to help them speak up for their peers. siLENT is one way to do that, and we’re overwhelmed by the response.”

Million Minutes also organise the Celebrating Young People Awards, supporting the Catholic community to recognise and honor the young people in its midst.  To nominate them for a Celebrating Young People Award, visit: millionminutes.org/awards. Deadline for nominations is the 24 May 2019.

For more information about Million Minutes’ youth social action grants please visit: millionminutes.org/grants

To discover how Million Minutes can support parishes and schools equip young people to take an active role in social action please contact: kate@millionminutes.org

 

 

Let’s speak up with silence

We are surrounded by noise. A constant barrage of demands and expectations to do something, to buy something, to achieve something, to become something different. We are pulled in all sorts of directions, stretched and pressured to respond. For young people it can be overwhelming, struggling to discover their place and to find their voice amidst the noise. In the middle of this confusion and stress, their experience of the world is anything but peaceful.

And I am heartbroken by the continued rise in violent crime, highlighted in recent days by the death of two 17 years olds. They had their whole life ahead of them. This violence, the constant pressure, the noise has to stop. We need to make a change.

Our society desperately needs young people who experience peace. We need young people who realise they are valued, and know that they can have a voice and make a difference. In the midst of the noise and the violence, our young people must be a beacon of hope to their peers. We, older adults, need to stand with them and support them. We can help them be the changemakers.

This season of Lent give us an opportunity to seek peace, by giving up some of the things which fill our lives with distractions. There are many ways to do this in Lent, but I encourage you to consider siLENT from Million Minutes. Young people and adults coming together in solidarity to give up some of the things which fill their world with noise (your phone?) and spending time in silence. By reflecting on ourselves and the world around us, we try and find that inner peace.

This collective silence has its own voice. The silence speaks up for those young people who are overwhelmed by noise and violence. Many people will be sponsored for their silence, raising money for projects that promote peace, and give young people a voice – projects like Safe Haven, from For Jimmy.

I will be staying siLENT in solidarity with all you dear young people and I shall be keeping you all in my prayers.

To see what individuals, parishes, schools and communities are getting up to this siLENT please visit: https://millionminutes.org/silent40.To discover more about creating safe havens visit: http://forjimmy.org/building-safe-havens/

Join siLENT at: https://millionminutes.org/silent

 

Reflection by our champion Margaret Mizen.