This weekend we want to update you on our major plans to support and nurture the faith and spiritual well-being of our young people.

A core part of this Strategy is the appointment of a Parish Youth Leader.

Our first attempt at an appointment has not been successful as the selected person has decided for personal reasons that she cannot take up the offer.  We are therefore going to re-advertise the position on the 20th September, with the aim of making an appointment before Christmas.

We are in a position to do so because of the tremendous groundswell of support from the people of Maynooth and Ladychapel. We have sufficient financial resources now committed for the next ten years. This allows us to really go after and drive forward this pioneering development in our parish. We have also been given strong endorsement by the Archdiocese.

As part of this focus on young people we would also like to mention three other initiatives already underway.

The annual work to prepare children for the sacraments is now well set up and supported by a great team of volunteers. The ‘Do this in Memory’ team do a tremendous job for First Communion children, and we will be launching the current year’s cycle in October this year under the guidance of Emma Maloney. Our thanks to Mags Whitty who did a wonderful job last year leading the team.

Secondly, Fr Cyril as Chaplain to the secondary schools, and in partnership with the parish, is doing tremendous work, using his strong Salesian background and ethos, in helping teenagers see how faith can play a part in their normal day to day lives.

Thirdly, St Patrick’s University has created a new programme on youth ministry and spirituality. In the long term this will be fertile recruitment ground, expanding the pool of suitable parish youth leader candidates. In the short term we will immediately benefit as we have secured one placement, with one student spending their work placement in our parish for the full academic year.

Of course, this is not just about young people. It is about all of us as a community journeying together in love, and with everyone welcome.  Recently at the world youth day attended by 1.5m young people, Pope Francis repeated over and over that the church welcomes

Everyone ….. totus, totus totus’ he cried out over and over. This has to be our church, a church for everyone, and our young people are key. While the Parish Youth Leader will support young people, Pope Francis recently reminded us again of the African proverb, that it takes a Village to raise a child and all of us live in this village, as parents, grandparents or as parishioners The Parish Youth Leader is a building block in this Village, but the Village is everyone.

As we go forward together, let us build our Village where we give life to our faith in this world today and into the future.