Sheffield priest to go on 100 mile cycle for WYD

Fr James Shekelton

Fr James Shekelton

A priest and his brother will be undertaking a 100-mile bicycle ride to raise funds to send youngsters from a poverty stricken part of Brazil to World Youth Day.

Fr James Shekelton and his brother John will set off from the family home on the outskirts of Sheffield and cycle to Manchester city centre on Friday 28 June, before riding back.

Keeping it in the family, all money raised will help their other brother, Fr Peter Shekelton, take 30 young people from Barcelos, Brazil to Rio for the Catholic festival at the end of July.

In Barcelos, where Fr Peter Shekelton is a missionary, growing numbers of young people coming from outlying regions in search of a better education have ended up living in poverty.

Fr James Shekelton of Hallam Diocese described the various problems confronting the young people to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which is supporting initiatives to send groups from deprived areas to World Youth Day.

He said: "A lot of the time their lives are stricken with violence, drugs, prostitution, many even attempt suicide – I understand the region has the highest suicide rate among young people.

"It is terrible that so many young people would think of committing suicide and I think that drives home, all the more strongly, how bad the situation is – that a young person with their whole life in front of them would even think of taking it away.

"Taking them to experience what World Youth Day's all about – which is the whole encounter in the Faith and seeing other young people enthuse about the Faith – will hopefully open their eyes and show them there's much more to life."

Fr James Shekelton, who was only ordained six months ago, added: "The work that my brother Peter's doing is admirable and the effect his work is having in Barcelos and the surrounding regions is quite amazing."

Fr Peter Shekelton's bishop, Edson Taschetto Damian of the Diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, told Aid to the Church in Need that the plan was important for Barcelos's youth ministry which includes reaching out to those who have "fallen victim to drugs, alcohol, violence, crime, and sex tourism".

He said: "I truly believe that the presence of some of them at World Youth Day will be of great benefit to them and be helpful for the future for the whole city."

Speaking about his preparation for the cycle ride to and from Manchester, Fr James Shekelton said: "I probably haven't been preparing as much as I should have done but the motivation behind it is the most important element for me.

"Even if the money raised were only enough for one of these young people to discover a brighter future, it would be well worth it."

Source: ACN

Tags: Brazil, Diocese of Hallam, Fr James Shekelton, Poverty, World Youth Day

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