The following is an archive copy of the J&P Youth Newsletter for the month of December.
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Hello again from the Justice and Peace Commission in the Diocese of Westminster!
As in my prior two mailings I have added a few people who might find this of interest; if you do not wish to be on this mailing list or if you know of someone who would like to join it, please drop me a line on …
[[From the Commission]]
We have two important dates coming up: one is advance notice for a Laudato Si’
event in co-ordination with the Newman House chaplaincies, on 6th February.
For more information and tickets, see http://laudatosiucl.eventbrite.com
The other is our annual Open Day, here at our office in South Tottenham on 18th January. Please come along and meet some of the many individuals and agencies who work with us. (I could use a student volunteer to help me out with some things around this, if anyone is up for it!)
My diary has been very full recently with visits to secondary schools and a number of engagements around Justice and Peace activism for Migrants, Refugees, Palestine, and Climate Change. I won’t bore you with all the details, except to note how enthused I was visiting the Justice and Peace Committee formed by the students at Bishop Challonerin Tower Hamlets, which really was the highlight of the month! They have chosen Refugees at their core focus of interest and already have some great plans to move forward.
To supplement what I already told them, there are a number of ways students and young people can get involved in helping refugees to greater hope, better lives, and to find a home in our changing world:
- Though there is much to critique (understatement?) in the recent report on migrant communities from Dame Louise Casey, I think we can all agree that English language learning is a very important resource, and it is unfortunate that the UK Government has cut funding on this over the last few years. There is a great shortage of English language instructors both at home and worldwide. Students and young people who want to volunteer for a migrants or refugees charity can easily get involved in English language learning support with no prior training. Looks great on a c.v. and can really inspire students to get involved in teaching, or to study a new language themselves.
- CAFOD has a great campaign to take written messages of hope to refugeesaround the world. You can add a digital message here: http://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Year-of-Mercy/Send-a-message-of-hope . Or, contact Cafod UK or myself for printed cards such as the one pictured in the video. They also have a number of resources for children and students, organised by topic and level/key stage.
- Purchasing Christmas Cards from ACN ( http://www.acnuk.org/products.php/category/12/christmas-cards ) and other agencies can help fund refugees this Christmas, many of whom may lack a home or a family. And it’s always worth remembering the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, Jesus’ own search for refuge.
- Advent liturgies regularly explore themes of justice, right judgement, and journeying with God as a civil society. Have a quick look over the Readings for the Sundays of Advent, or even just the Readings of the Day, for some inspiration!
- Contact Secours Catholique (Caritas France) if you would like to get in touch with some of the many Anglophone refugees in France, many of whom have British connections: http://www.secours-catholique.org/
In Spring (mid-April?) I am hoping to organise, with the help of some of our partner agencies, a gathering & planning event for students and catechists to get them inspired for Refugee Week (which is in late June). If you have a venue which might be suitable for this, please get in touch. We would need a meeting hall which could comfortably fit ~100 or so people, and possibly one or two sizeable secondary rooms for workshops (for art and/or theatre).
Please let me know if you can help with any of the above.
[[From the Top]]
“Family time” for everyone else is “busy time” for the clergy, and the Pope is no exception! Keep an eye out for messages in support of the poor and homeless this Christmas, especially during Christmas homilies from Pope Francis and Cardinal Vincent.
The December Pope Video is on Child Soldiers: very topical for J&P and very stirring for young viewers. http://thepopevideo.org/
As you may have been aware from the news in spring, groundwork is being laid for a potential papal encyclical on “Just Peace
“, as a replacement for Just War Theory. Though still in the very early stages of debate, Pax Christi
has organised deliberations and is very well versed on the progress. Get in touch with them for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
[[From around the Diocese]]
On the theme of Pax Christi, myself and others from around the Diocese attended their Advent service yesterday evening (6 December) which was a great success. I sensed the age profile is very advanced, however! If you are interested in Pax’s work and would like them to speak at your school, parish, or community, or provide resources for a Peace-themed assembly/talk/event, contact Matt Jeziorski on email@example.com
…for more updates, news, and events!
May the peace of Christ be with you all, in this Advent and Christmas season!
Edmund T. Dean
Youth Worker, Justice and Peace Commission, RC Diocese of Westminster