Read the article ‘Giving new life to Catholicism’ and answer the following reflection questions. Then share your answers in pairs or groups.
1. What does the writer mean when she says young Catholics need to maintain their roots firmly in Christ? Do you agree with this?
2. Why do you think so many young people identified mental health as a major issue? How do you think the Church, or society, could better support young people suffering from mental health issues?
3. If you had one minute to say anything to Pope Francis what would you say? How do you think he would respond to you? How would you like him to respond?
4. Do you think it’s possible, as the writer argues, for the Catholic Church to create spaces where young people are accepted and listened to, regardless of their background, their identity, and their stance on social issues? Why/why not?
1. Conduct your own ‘youth survey’ at your school. Develop a list of questions for the student body about how they feel about religious faith, and what they’d like to see the school do to better engage them in faith activities. Compile the results, and share them with the school’s leaders.
2. Do some research to identify some of the major mental health needs or other issues facing young people, and some of the resources and agencies that are available to help them. Create some posters and flyers that could go up around the school, or a a video that could be shared among students, addressing some of these issues and helping young people find support. (Townsville Catholic Education has some recent videos on cyberbullying which might be helpful to show students as a starting point - https://www.youtube.com/user/TownsvilleCEO/videos)
3. Imagine you’re a young priest, who has been assigned to a parish in your city. You see that many of the congregation are ageing, and while you know there are schools nearby, it seems none of the students are at Mass on Sundays. What would you do to bring young people back to Church? Write up a plan for your parish, or write an imaginative piece detailing your efforts, and the results.
4. 20 November is Universal Children’s Day. Do some research on this day online – why was it created, what’s its purpose. Create a news report for the day, interviewing children around the world about some of the issues that are significant for them.
For younger students
1. Have a discussion with the students about Pope Francis – Do they know who he is? What do they know about him? What do they know about his job? After the students have shared what they know, ask them to write a letter or draw a picture for Pope Francis, sharing with him what they think about him.
2. Have a discussion about Universal Children’s Day (20 November). Ask students to brainstorm some of the issues that children in different parts of the world might face and some of the issues they themselves would like adults to be aware of. Students can then put together a poster for Universal Children’s Day, highlighting one or more of these issues.
More resources for Universal Children’s Day here: https://australiancatholics.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51200#.WgvG97SZ2mm