Preparing the Future: How young people can answer the Pope's call

  • Kate Eastmond

Source: Million Minutes

'Many people want to return to normality…Today we have an opportunity to build something different.' Pope Francis, General Audience, 19th August 2020

Million Minutes, working with a group of youth ministers and youth workers across England and Wales, has put together a new twelve-unit resource which provides a guide to empower young people to process their Covid-19 experiences and discern what kind of society they want to see, helping to give young people a voice in shaping the future.

Events of 2020 have exposed deep-rooted and systemic inequalities in our society - inequalities that seem to hit the youngest hardest. It is time for healing and transformation, to build a fairer, more equal, and sustainable world so that we may look ahead to a more hopeful future, not least because it is the young who are the primary inheritors of that future.

Pope Francis calls us to 'prepare the future', and not just passively prepare for the future. By this he is calling all Catholic communities to build back better for our communities, for families, for creation, for sustainability, and for our own spirituality. Now is the time to face what is broken in our society and work together to make a better world for us all.

In coalition with the Columbans and youth workers and chaplains across the Dioceses of Plymouth, Leeds, Northampton, Southwark and Arundel and Brighton, Million Minutes has convened a group to create a twelve-part resource series called Prepare the Future. Aimed at young people and young adults (aged 13 to 18), this resource includes liturgies and reflections that teachers, chaplains, and youth workers can adapt and use with young people to collectively reflect on what has happened and what lies ahead.

Anna Fraine (author and collator of material) says: "I hope the resource enables young people to believe that they can make change, in their own lives, and in the lives of others. Perhaps more than any other generation, today's young people have to be resilient despite how powerless it can feel living in a world beset by consumerism, wastefulness and war. We believe that in the face of such challenges, faith can play a pivotal role.

These units explore the benefits of daily spiritual practice, such as prayer, silence, and meditation, as a means for young people to discern what is right for them, their community, their own culture, and life. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problems we now face. The challenges our world faces are multifaceted and complex - but young people offer our world a hopeful future where they are engaged and active. For this reason, I feel we can be ambitious and prophetic -as we rediscover the Gospel and follow the example of Jesus."

Kevin Mendes (School Chaplain at St Peters Catholic School, Guildford) adds: "As a School Chaplain I found this opportunity to gather with like-minded people valuable. The contributions that we had from various speakers (over lockdown) allowed us to explore different themes and topics which are relevant to young people today. This has helped me to enhance my knowledge and skills which will be beneficial to the work I do with young people. I look forward to future opportunities to gather and share experiences of youth ministry and to explore relevant themes to working with young people."

Daisy Srblin, Director of Million Minutes, says: "We all know that it is young people who suffer the most at the hands of our unequal world, and will undoubtedly struggle most when it comes to the legacy of Covid-19. It is the younger generation who will carry the greatest burden, when it comes to an economic recession, the climate emergency, paying for Covid-19, and so much more. Million Minutes is proud to have laid the foundations for this important resource, which we hope will enable young people from around the country to process the trauma they have experienced, to explore the role of faith in that journey, and to build the sort of future they deserve. Thank you especially to Anna and the Columbans, but also to all those from Dioceses around the country, who have helped make this resource possible."

The first eight units are available to download today at:

Read more about Million Minutes HERE

Tags: Million Minutes, Pope Francis, #PrepareTheFuture, Kate Eastmond

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