Catholics draw on example of Gandhi

By staff writers
November 19, 2007

Young Catholics are being urged to follow the example of Mahatma Gandhi as they gather for National Youth Sunday.

A new DVD, produced for National Youth Sunday, in association with Catholic Youth Services (CYS) and Pax Christi explores the themes of non-violence, peacemaking and justice with young Catholics and aims to equip them to be proactive and bring about change.

Drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi – the man internationally esteemed for his doctrine of non-violent protest – this year’s National Youth Sunday 2007 (25 November) will be inviting young adults to ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. It focuses on experiences of conflict and reconciliation and how to live in solidarity with others; building upon the success of last year’s Live Simply theme.

Over 6,000 ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ packs have been sent to parishes, youth offices, justice & peace groups, schools, colleges, chaplaincies and universities in England and Wales. The DVD-based resource contains a series of six film clips which take a closer look at conflict in the context of the lives of the young people at a local, national and international level.

One of the clips looks at the story of Marie-Lyse; a young woman who, as a young girl, witnessed some of the atrocities perpetrated during the Rwandan Genocide. Her father, the Governor of the bank of Rwanda at the outbreak of hostilities, was initially able to take Marie-Lyse to safety but on their return she tells of her experience of accusations of murder from local peoples. Marie-Lyse came to England to seek asylum and has settled in London working for a charity, The Scarman Trust, which funds and enables a variety of projects to meet the needs of local communities.

“Our young people are often moved by the plight of those in the midst of conflict and I hope by inviting them to be the change they want to see in the world that we, as a Church, are encouraging our young people to think about difficult questions, take action where possible and make change happen,” says Development Co-ordinator for CYS, Adam Berry.

"To live in solidarity, we must move beyond sympathy and struggle with others for peace and justice,” added Pax Christi’s Hilary Topp.”The activities and film clips in the National Youth Sunday pack help young people to explore their own experience of conflict and reflect on how conflict affects the lives of others. It encourages them to think about how they can live in solidarity with others and be the change they want to see in the world."

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