World Youth Day
World Youth Day takes place every two or three years and is an invitation for young people across the world to gather with the Pope to celebrate and grow in faith.
In 2016 St Peter’s, along with other parishes in our Partnership, sponsored Rebecca Gallagher to join the Diocesan World Youth Day pilgrimage to Kraków, Poland.
Fundraising for service overseas
Over the last few years, a number of young adults from our community have generously volunteered their service in developing countries. They have inspired us with their commitment and St Peter’s community has been glad to support them with our encouragement, prayer and fundraising.
Last year a group of young people went to India with World Challenge…
In August 2018 Beth Rutledge travelled to Sri Lanka for a 5 week mental health placement with the SLV Global mental health charity. Beth shared what she would be doing with the parish and was grateful for the donations she received.
Currently, we have monthly coffee mornings to support a group going to Nepal next year.
Between 2011 and 2012, I spent 12 months volunteering in a rural mission hospital in a tribal South African village called Zithulele through the UK based charity Project Trust. I was unsure about which direction I wanted to take in my life, so a year out seemed like the ideal option for me, and the opportunity to give something back to a world that has been so kind to me was one I simply could not pass up. I spent my year preparing and running 11 outreach HIV clinics and a further one based at the hospital itself; when I wasn’t preparing for or running clinics I had the chance to work in all areas of the hospital from maternity to paediatrics to TB wards. It was the most fulfilling experience of my life and it has shaped the person I am today and indeed my career as a nurse.
I have been a part of St. Peter’s parish since I was born and the support I was shown prior to, during and after my year overseas was nothing short of overwhelming. I had a lot of fundraising to do to reach my goal and I know I would have struggled greatly had it not been for the help of my parish community. I spoke frequently at Mass giving updates on my fundraising and my preparations for departure, and this was always met with loving support and enthusiasm. During my time in Zithulele I was in regular email contact with Fr. Walker my priest and kept the parish updated with newsletters sent home via my parents.
I was particularly downhearted about the state of the children’s ward at the hospital; it was a bleak, miserable place to be. What started off as a brief conversation about this between my Mam and some friends at a coffee morning after Sunday Mass turned into something spectacular. The people of the parish raised funds for the ward to be decorated! My parents brought some of the supplies when they came to visit me at Easter time and with an army of other volunteers we transformed the ward in a matter of hours! It was a small gesture that made an incomprehensible difference to the patients and staff of the ward. The sister told me “My ward used to be a place where children are sick, now it is a place where sick children are happy.”
Another aspect I cannot thank the parish enough for is prayer power; in desperate times I would email Fr. Keith with prayer requests to be offered up at Mass. One that stands out was when we were in a horrific drought, crops were dying, people were dying needlessly of dehydration, it was an absolutely awful time but I was comforted by the fact we were being prayed for quite literally across the globe. Needless to say, I felt immense support through the whole process of taking a voluntary year overseas, a process which would have been a lot more challenging without the loving and unconditional support of my parish community.
When I went to World Youth Day in Kraków, I was very nervous because I had never been abroad or outside of the Diocese before except for university. I was blown over by all the events in Kraków, everywhere you looked there was a sea of youth across the city. Over 2.5 million young people came to the pilgrimage to see Pope Francis for the Papal Mass.
I would have to say my favourite part of the whole experience was the English Catechesis. There were hundreds of young people in a marquee praising the Lord from all over the world and from countries as far away as America and Australia. Making friends and sharing my faith with those who were in the marquee was an amazing experience and I even taught an Australian some Geordie!
I would advise any individual wanting to attend a World Youth Day celebration to be fully open to take part because I think this experience strengthened my faith and my relationship with the Lord.
‘The aim of the charity is to provide therapy and promote positive mental health in areas of the world that struggle to understand the importance of mental health.
In Sri Lanka, I will be living with a local family and embracing their culture and way of life, while working alongside professionals in the local community and schools. It will be my responsibility to plan and manage sessions to suit each situation to provide the maximum impact I can during my 5 weeks.’
Eleanor & James’ Story
‘We have been fundraising with the parish for World Challenge 2019. In July 2019 we will be heading to Nepal for 2 weeks. While there, we will be helping with community work and projects such as the building of classrooms in local villages, and engaging in activities with local school children.
As well as that, we will be hiking for a few days, camping and sleeping in teahouses. We believe that this will be an amazing experience both physically and spiritually and thank the parish for the help we have received so far in support of our coffee mornings once every other month.’
Eleanor & James Devenport