Bishop Mark Davies has announced the launch of a Youth Mission Team for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
In a pastoral letter read out in the churches and chapels of the Diocese, the Bishop reminded the faithful that the Christian witness of young people is a “gift needed by the whole Church and the whole world”.
But he said that it was necessary for the Church to support young people amid the challenges that confront them in the 21st century.
The Youth Mission Team was therefore one of the “important developments” brought about by the “generosity and sacrifices” of parishioners and the Our Mission Together initiative.
Bishop Davies prayed that the team will “help renew the joy of our youth”.
He has entrusted its mission to Pope St John Paul II, St Thérèse of Lisieux and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – the patron of young Catholics – “who reached the heights of holiness – true happiness – in their own young lives”.
The team will comprise of a core which will include clergy and lay volunteers along with a full-time director and two full-time workers.
It will serve the whole of the Shrewsbury Diocese by reaching out to parishes and secondary schools and organising events to bring young people together.
The team will also seek to build up the youth mission on social media.
“I know this initiative has a special place in your hearts as I often hear you echo St John Paul II’s words, that the joy and enthusiasm of the young is needed by us all,” Bishop Davies said in his letter called “On the Joy of our Youth”.
“I frequently hear your appreciation of the witness of young people in our schools, and in many gatherings and initiatives in the Diocese and beyond, not least on our Annual Lourdes Pilgrimage,” he said.
“The witness of youth is a gift not only for those who are young – it is a gift needed by the whole Church and the whole world.
“Pope Francis speaks of the time of youth as ‘the beautiful years’ – a time to discern God’s call. The Holy Father urges us never to rob the young of this opportunity.
“It has certainly been one of the great joys of my own priestly life to have seen many young people re-discover their faith and the joy of their vocation.”
Bishop Davies said that if the challenges facing the young at the present time were greater than those confronting previous generations “then the assurance of God’s grace is even more certain”.
The Bishop has dedicated 2017 as a “Year for Mission” for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.