Pass it on
The mission of the Catholic Youth Association ends when we begin enjoying only our own company. Our task and the greatest joy are to be with other people. The scope of activities undertaken by members of the Catholic Youth Association is very wide: traditional retreats, days of formation, conferences, pilgrimages, prayer meetings and the national peregrination of the relics of the Blessed Karolina Kozkowna. But this is not everything. The most important thing is to go out to people. In the spirit of new evangelisation we want to compete with the world that promotes all values except the Christian ones.
God in English
Courses as well as summer and winter language camps are important initiatives. Addressed to young people, they promote textbooks to learn English and German, in which the word ‘God’ appears in other expressions than ‘Oh, my God!’ High quality education and upbringing are the aims of the National Language School ‘eMKA’, created by the Catholic Youth Association and the Catholic Action. The school differs from our schools in that its participants get to know the vocabulary connected with spiritual sphere of man’s life. The textbooks popularise positive values and contrary to other books, available in the market, they enlarge pupils’ vocabulary with words related to faith and religion given in Catholic context. This year the summer camps will embrace dance and cultural workshops as well as horseback riding lessons.
The task of the Catholic Youth Association is to discern social problems and take actions aiming at coping with them. In the Diocese of Zielona Gora-Gorzow the zeal of young people and their eagerness to serve others have made it possible to launch the educational-preventive campaign ‘Why STOP DRUGS’, in the framework of which a television programme, scripts of lessons for teachers and posters have been prepared. Drug addiction is still a fundamental problem among young people and in spite of numerous campaigns, which are to warn them against drugs, it concerns numerous people. The programme invented by Malgorzata Ajszpur aims at reaching gymnasium pupils, high school pupils and their parents. It is the first national action, which provides materials warning young people against drugs and enlarging their knowledge about the reasons and consequences of using drugs that has reached schools in the whole country. It is worth adding that the documentary includes authentic testimonies of those who have been drug addicts as well as the opinions of specialists in addiction therapies.
Another national initiative is the ecological project ‘The Bug - a river of life’, undertaken by the Catholic Youth Association in the Diocese of Drohiczyn. Young leaders who participate in national and regional trainings gain competence to organise professionally workshops on ecology. Skills are to be transformed into business enterprises and activities aiming at environment protection. ‘After the project has been completed those who want can continue their involvement by creating the Regional Centres for Environmental Initiatives as part of the diocesan boards of the Association. The Centres are educational enterprises created by young people themselves, in collaboration with various organisations and with the support of the central, regional and local authorities’ says Anna Siwek from the national office of the Project ‘The Bug - a river of life.’
Helping children in Africa
Uganda in Africa is a land of shed tears and blood, where you can see poverty and famine. The Lenten Offering of Heart is an action of the Catholic Youth Association and the Catholic Action, aiming at supporting by prayer and financial means children and young people of the street, orphans and half-orphans in Uganda, who are under the care of the Polish Salesians. Thanks to people’s generosity in whole Poland they managed to collect 54,177 dollars, which would help develop the existing centre-home where children can find shelter, food, clothes and medicines. The missionaries are building an elementary school and a vocational school, which will give boys the chance to gain education and consequently better lives because one of the keys to African children’s happiness is education. The mission, that was planed to care for 60 people, has got 128 inhabitants now. And more people are coming to it.
More happiness in giving
Everyone can find something for himself/herself in the Catholic Youth Association. Within the framework of the Association there is the Catholic TV team that makes programmes for various television stations. Men of passion work for the national newsletter of the Association ‘Biuletyn KSM’ and help editing the Catholic monthly ‘Wzrastanie’ [Growing Up]. We have got our own publishing house ‘Gotow’ [Ready], which has prepared 70 books (over 100,000 copies). We are eager to participate in the actions initiated by other Christian communities, e.g. the meeting in Lednica. This year, the diocesan assistant of the Catholic Youth Association in Krakow Fr Rafal Buzala will be the custodian of the relics of St Stanislaus during the meeting in Lednica. We also offer professional trainings on marketing, economy, diplomatic etiquette, stock exchange, voluntary work and collaboration with local authorities or interpersonal communication. We give talks and organise symposia; our concern is the development of citizens’ society. We conduct therapeutic day centres for children coming from poor families and... And we want to be where we are needed. You cannot leave the good you have received only for yourself. The trick is to pass it on.