Salford Young People Step Up!
A wave of enthusiasm is flowing through the Diocese of Salford. Nearly 900 young people have responded to the call from the bishop to be leaders in the Faith, witnesses to Jesus Christ proclaiming that the prevailing culture of our time is just not good enough for them. These young people have applied to their governing bodies, gone through a rigorous interview process, been trained and commissioned by the Diocese and are assisting their Priests in their schools. This is making a significant difference not only for the often overstretched and overworked priests, but particularly to the Catholic life of the school as they join the senior leadership team in its development.
After two years of challenging ministry, the young Pupil Chaplains met to share their experiences with their Bishop. They came from across the Diocese of Salford for a day of reflection and celebration on Wednesday 25th June 2014 at St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Salford.
Bishop Terence Brain and Canon Tony McBride (Episcopal Vicar for Formation) listened carefully as the young people gave personal testimonies revealing the impact this has had on their lives and hopes for the future. By the end of the da, it became very clear that these young voices needed to be heard and acted upon. To everyone's delight, the Bishop rose to his feet and said: "You will be told by many people that you can't take a leadership role in the church, but I am telling you as your Bishop that I support you - NOW JUST GO AND DO IT!"
The Headteacher of the host school, Mrs Marie Garside, welcomed the young pupil chaplains and said: "Today, something wonderful is happening. It is a great privilege to welcome each one of you here and we are proud to be part of it."
At a time when hope is being rekindled and the 'Francis factor' is providing new energy for the young, these pupil chaplains are testimony to a resurgence that it is indeed 'cool to be Catholic'. As one teenager said to the Bishop: "I always felt I had something to offer, now I have got the chance to do it!"
Many spoke of how they felt part of a community, growing in confidence, supported and felt their faith could grow through this opportunity.
Canon Tony McBride summed up the whole day when he recalled Pope Francis's words: "The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is characteristic of you."