Secondary teachers: Have your students entered the Columban Young Journalists Competition?


By: Ellen Teague

Are you a secondary teacher or parent of a 15-18 year-old? There are three weeks to go to the deadline of submissions for the Columban Young Journalists Competition on 8 February.

The Missionary Society of St Columban is inviting young people to enter a journalism competition marking their centenary.

Students aged 15-18, who are budding journalists, are asked to write an article or produce a video report that informs, challenges and raises important issues on the topic: 'MIGRANTS ARE OUR NEIGHBOURS'.

Teachers and parents are asked to alert young people to this opportunity.

Two separate strands are offered, one for students in Ireland and one for students in England, Scotland, and Wales. Each has two categories, writing and video.

Leading journalists in Ireland and Britain will be judging the entries, and these include Josephine Siedlecka, the founder and editor of Independent Catholic News. The winning articles and videos will be announced in Columban media on the 15 March 2018.

There are cash prizes.The objective is to encourage students to use their journalistic writing and mobile skills to look at a topical issue which is relevant to Catholic Social Teaching and resonates with Columban mission.

Since 2000 the Missionary Society of St Columban has committed itself in a special way to continue accompanying and defending the rights of migrants, and to address the underlying causes of the migration of peoples. Pope Francis has underlined Church teaching about welcoming the stranger and has invited all to "Share the Journey" of migrants and refugees.

Migrant and interfaith work has been a Columban priority in all 17 countries where the Columbans work. In Ireland, the Columbans run a 'Columban Centre' in Dublin which welcomes asylum seekers and provides English classes. Also, Columban Fr Bobby Gilmore was a founder member and is on the board of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. In England, Columbans have engaged with migrant communities, and helped to run a house of sanctuary in Birmingham, called Fatima House, for women asylum seekers. Columbans have participated in 'Welcome the Stranger' Walks of Witness in London and Birmingham and there is a long-standing ministry to domestic workers.

The winners in the Irish category will be presented with their prizes on 29 June 2018 at Dalgan Park by former president of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese. The winners in the British category will be given their prizes at the Centenary Columban celebration at Southwark Cathedral on 30th June 2018 by Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark.

All details on the competition website: www.columbancompetition.com

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