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Supporting young people on their faith journey
Michelle Manley describes the work of Dublin’s new Youth Evangelisation Team

Michelle Manley 

The Archdiocese of Dublin has established a new Youth Evangelisation Team, tasked with faith outreach to teenagers and young adults. 

The central hub for this exciting new venture is right in the heart of Dublin in St Paul’s Church at Arran Quay (Smithfield). It is coordinated by the Diocesan Office of Evangelisation and Ecumenism and run by Siobhán Tighe and myself.

Among the many young adult initiatives we have introduced so far includes The Encounter Dublin City, Life to the Full (John 10:10) Book Club, Ewe Thina: We Walk God’s Way, and Awake My Soul Retreats.  

The Encounter Dublin City, is a monthly event, held on a Friday night at St Paul’s. It includes reflective, meditative prayer, live acoustic, contemporary Christian music and a guest speaker who shares their own personal faith story. It is followed by a social get together in the kitchen area with pizza and refreshments. On average we have 80 young adults attend each event. 

There is a great buzz at Encounter, people from all sorts of faith backgrounds coming together.

There is a weekly book club, called Life to the Full (John 10:10). This takes place every Thursday evening at St Paul’s (7-8:30pm). Here we start off with some reflective prayer and then discuss life, faith, purpose and how to live life to the full. We read a chosen spiritual book over a few weeks and come to reflect and discuss our thoughts. We have a steady group of young adults who attend, with newcomers welcome each week. The book club is a great opportunity for people to delve deeper into their faith, while being supported by a community of peers.

Chance to get fit

Ewe Thina: We Walk God’s Way is a monthly reflective hike around the Dublin area to give young adults a chance to get fit, embrace God in nature and build true friendships. Awake My Soul Retreats take place over a weekend each month and are facilitated by different animators. They offer some time out to reflect, pray and grow in faith.

Some of the teen events include FaithFest, John Paul II Awards and Teen Hope. Faithfest is an event for teenagers all around the Dublin diocese. It was an idea that was developed by a number of parish pastoral workers. We are now part of that team. 

The aim of Faithfest is to build a sense of community for teens, explore faith and develop a relationship with God. Elements of Faithfest include - music, prayer, creative workshops and hangout time. 

The Faithfest team has run nine Faithfest events in the Holy Cross Diocesan Centre in which approximately 100 teenagers from around the diocese attended. Siobhán and I have also helped parishes to create their own local Faithfest, such as Lucan and Bray, and have assisted at the Faithfest @Tallaght. 

A Faithfest Retreat is planned for June 23-25, in Ovoca Manor, Avoca, Co. Wicklow, which is open to any young person who has been to a Faithfest event.

Teen Hope is our faith outreach to teenagers. It provides continued support and opportunities for teenagers to encounter and to get to know God in Jesus Christ – whom they may draw their strength, healing and hope from. Its aim is to help the young person discover their true value and worth, as a child of God in their whole selves: spirit, heart, mind and body. Inspired by the Jeremiah 29:11 scripture verse: “I know the plans I have in mind for you – it is the Lord who speaks – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future of hope for you.” 

Some of the programmes include guided hikes, meditation, movie and pizza nights, youth encounter (music and prayer service) and local fundraising initiatives. 

We are currently piloting this initiative in a group of parishes and are at the stage of training local leaders to implement the initiative with their local teens. There is fantastic feedback and up take on this initiative to date.

Through these teen and young adult initiatives, young people may come to know God and find support and encouragement as they journey in their faith. 

Our next Encounter is Friday, March 24 at 8pm at St Paul’s Church, Arran Quay. www.facebook.com/theencounterdublincity 

Our next Faithfest is March 10 you can download parental consent forms and more details https://www.facebook.com/faithfest4teens/ or email us.

Contact info: st.pauls@dublindiocese.ie or michelle.manley@dublindiocese.ie or Siobhan.tighe@dublindiocese.ie 

Links: Hike: www.facebook.com/wewalkgodsway Young Adult Retreat: www.facebook.com/awakemysoulretreats Book Club: www.facebook.com/lifetothefullbookclub JPII Awards www.facebook.com/popejpiiawardsdublin