Over 200 young people from across the Portsmouth Diocese took part in a special World Youth Day participants’ event at St Patrick’s RC primary in Southampton on National Youth Sunday. The day (entitled ‘A Noble Adventure’) organised by Peter McGeady (Youth Development Leader for the Catholic Pastoral Areas of Southampton, Three Rivers and Hampshire Downs) and Dave Hill (Diocesan Youth Adviser) included a series of workshops on music, mime, art and drama as well as talks on vocations and the theology of the body – ending with Mass and food.
We were lucky enough to be asked to run two workshops on the day. The first involved running a ‘World Values Auction’ where the group were asked to take on the role of a person living in a particular country and bid for items which they thought would be important to them. Items included needs (clean water, electricity) and wants (MP3 players, music, friends). Things got a bit heated when it became clear that those representing the UK had far more money to bid with than their developing country colleagues! We then discussed how this was reflected in the world today and ended by thinking of the things we could do in our own lives to bring about a fairer world.
The second workshop focused on CAFOD’s campaign to end the blockade in Gaza. After watching a short film on the background of the situation in Gaza and the West Bank, the group discussed the difficulties faced by the four Palestinian and Israeli young people featured and what the blockade has meant for their friendships.
They were then asked to take on the role of Muna (who lives in Gaza and is a mother of seven children), Joe (a CAFOD campaigner) and the British Foreign Secretary (William Hague). Each group had a character card which outlined their particular points of view. The ‘Joe’ group then interviewed Muna about her experiences and constructed a letter outlining their concerns – which they then presented to the group of ‘William Hagues’. This latter group then read out their letter and thought about the kinds of issues they would raise with Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman.
By the end of the session, several letters to William Hague had been constructed, asking him to use his influence and ask for the blockade to be lifted so that more goods, people and help can get into Gaza and so that goods and people can get out. Everyone put their names to the letters and we ended the session in prayer – asking for peace for the people of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank.
Thanks to all those who took part in the workshops on the day. Your enthusiasm and energy were infectious! I’ll be sure to pass on any responses I receive from William Hague to you all via Peter and Dave. Thanks again to you and to all the leaders that helped on the day.
World Values Auction can be downloaded from http://www.cafod.org.uk/secondary/workshops
The session on Gaza can be downloaded from http://www.cafod.org.uk/secondary
Write to William Hague today at http://www.cafod.org.uk/take-action/gaza-action