Catholics urged to ‘stay silent’ to raise £1m for young people

For immediate release – 24 January 2011 Thousands of Catholics from all over England and Wales are being urged to stay silent for up to 24 hours to raise money to fund projects supporting young people as part of an innovative new charity to be launched this month.

The charity, Million Minutes, has been set up to raise money to promote youth participation and advocacy by supporting projects that give young people vision, purpose and responsibility. The organisation aims to fund projects in England and Wales as well as internationally.

The charity’s focus in 2011 will be raising £1m through a UK-wide sponsored silence. The charity is urging thousands of people and groups to stay silent for 24 hours from midday on Sunday May 8th 2011. If just 695 people or groups manage it, more than a million minutes will have been achieved.

Speaking ahead of the launch on the Feast of St Don Bosco, patron saint of young people, on the 31 January, Million Minutes champion, Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, presenter of BBC TV programme The Big Silence, said:

“This is a great way to bring together two really important and overlooked things: silence and young people. In a world that’s dominated by being busy, silence offers so much more than a means of escape, it helps us to reconnect with our deepest selves.”

Fellow Million Minutes champion Margaret Mizen, mother of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen, said:

“Young people are often overlooked in today’s adult-led world. But it’s important that they are supported to play their full role in society – young people’s passion and creativity really can transform society.”

Million Minutes Champions will be joined in their silence by many others who have already pledged to get involved, including young people, lay chaplains, teachers and even parish priests.

The charity, Million Minutes, is a unique collaboration between young adults across charities that work on social issues. Co-director and co-founder Danny Curtin, former President of the Young Christian Workers, said:

“A few of us have thought for a while about how best to raise money for young people and raise their profile in the Church as well as in the rest of society. Million Minutes seems to be an idea whose time has come.”

Notes to editors

1. To arrange an interview with either of the Million Minutes champions or the team behind Million Minutes, please email

2. Fr Christopher Jamison OSB is the Director of the National Office of Vocations and was Abbot of Worth Abbey. His TV programmes include The Monastery and The Big Silence. His books include Finding Sanctuary and Finding Happiness.

3. Margaret Mizen runs the Jimmy Mizen Foundation with her husband Barry and their family. The Foundation is committed to working for peace among young people.

4. The third Million Minutes champion is Paschal Uche, who welcomed Pope Benedict XVI on the steps of Westminter Cathedral during last year’s Papal Visit.

6. Anyone can volunteer to stay silent and get sponsored for it. More details can be found on the new Million Minutes website,

7. Million Minutes is a company limited by guarantee (number 7442390) and a charity registered in England and Wales (number 1140079).