Scotland: Students explore beyond church walls

  • Danny Sweeney

Students from Catholic schools across Scotland gathered together on Monday at the Xaverian Missionaries Conforti Centre in Coatbridge for a unique learning experience. 'Beyond the Walls' bought together eight of Scotland's leading lay-apostolate organisations to explore the life and mission of the Church taking place 'beyond the walls of chapels and churches'.

The event was lead and organised by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland's Justice and Peace Commission (Justice and Peace Scotland), joined by colleagues from the Catholic Parliamentary Office, and members of the Bishops' Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, along with representatives from SCIAF, SPRED Glasgow, Apostleship of the Sea, Missio Scotland, and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Scotland, all hosted by the UK Province of the Xaverian Missionaries.

After a brief introduction to each of the organisations students from 10 schools split into dynamic workshops which explored the charisms, missions, current work and campaigns by the organisations.

Hugh Foy, Director of Programmes for the Xaverians said: "For the UK Xaverian community of priests and laity it was important to host this event. Connecting our young people with the lay apostolates of the Church and nurturing their active participation in these apostolates is crucial. Once again we were able to see the great value of our Catholic schools, in creating bridges into the living out of Catholic Social Teaching in daily life and supporting the ongoing formation of young people. Today was a celebration of commitment, service, diversity, inclusion, solidarity and the pursuit of common good. We would hope we can increase these opportunities for our young people to meet the wider Catholic community, Knowing that this encounter will enrich all those involved as we respond to the invitation to live the call to missionary discipleship in the Gospel."

Danny Sweeney, Co-ordinator for Justice and Peace Scotland who led the day said: "It's great to see an idea take shape and come to life. Bringing this many organisations together for this purpose is something we've not seen before and I'm delighted that this pilot day went so well. The students all threw themselves into everything they were asked, and are a credit to their staff and schools. We're going to go away and evaluate what we've achieved and hopefully start to get a sense of how this can be delivered again for our schools, and out to the wider church in parishes/ diocese across the country."

After a packed day of workshops the whole group gathered to end the day in prayer. After hearing from scripture the account of when the Son of Man comes in glory (Matt 25) from Deacon Joe O'Donnell (Apostleship of the Sea) the group prayed against the injustices of society with the response "Lord, help us change the world".

Read more about Justice and Peace Scotland:

Tags: Youth, Conforti Centre, Scotland, Xaverian, SVP, AoS, Xaverian Missionaries

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