Thirty-two teens from a west London Catholic parish became homeless for a day as part of their preparation for being “confirmed” (making an adult commitment) in the Catholic Church. I LOVE this as a way of practicing living out the gospel and embodying the social teachings of the Catholic Church.
Some find it easy to dismiss this kind of symbolic action, but I have to say that it’s this kind of experience that shapes and forms the individual conscience. It’s not that this particular action will be effective in ending homelessness (though they did raise £1000 for the local shelter), but it will convert a whole generation of Catholics sensitive to the issues.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Annette Brazier, who leads the catachetical programme at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Acton, explained: “our young people have a real concern for social issues. They often challenge us to look after the environment, speak out for the poor and needy and challenge racism. The project started with a reflection on the gospels and the call to reach out to the marginalized in our society. A number of the sessions focused on social justice and how as Christians we are called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The group responded well to the challenge presented to them and after a talk from Ian Breen, the director of the local charity Acton Homeless Concern, they decided to go homeless for a day and to do a sponsored fast during this time.”
One of the local schools, St. Vincent Catholic Primary, offered their grounds on a Saturday and the group of 32 confirmation candidates, plus their catechists gave up their usual comforts and lived on the school grounds for the day.
Many of the young people found bits of cardboard to sit on or make temporary shelters so that they could gain a better understanding of what it must be like to be homeless.
Parish Priest, Fr. John Leahy, said he was really impressed by their efforts. He said: “the group have really thought about those who are marginalised in our society.”
The project, which was called, Cardboard City, raised over £1000 for Acton Homeless Concern.
Read the whole article here.