Sister Catherine Jones, smsm
Pizza, personal care kits for the Wellington Night Shelter, and a selfie with the Prime Minister… what could these have in common?
They were all part of the programme for the Young New Zealanders of Faith event held on 24–25 June in Wellington.
Around 40 Catholic and Mormon youth came together over two days for a service project assembling personal care kits for men at the Wellington Night Shelter, a visit to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, a presentation on the work of Caritas, an evening devotional service in Porirua, and a visit to Parliament for lunch with Prime Minister John Key and several MPs.
The Catholic youth met for Mass for the Birth of John the Baptist and a time of orientation before joining their Mormon counterparts.
The event concluded with another time together for sharing on the experience and an initial theological reflection.
The highlights were meeting other young people of the Archdiocese as well as the Mormon youth, engaging with young people of a different faith, learning about how Parliament works and the responsibilities of being a citizen.
All these are part of daily living our faith.
What biblical story or image relates to this experience?
John the Baptist invited us ‘to prepare the way’ in friendship and dialogue, and for one participant it was a time of deeper commitment: ‘We will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15). For another it was the courage of Esther, or the woman in the gospel who reached out to Jesus to touch his cloak and be healed (Luke 8:44). It was an Emmaus journey (Luke 24), walking alongside each other, sharing our stories.
It was the beginning of a new journey of Catholic and Mormon together.
We certainly didn’t solve all the long history of theological differences between our two faith communities, but we took a first step together.