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Teach young people the ‘undiluted truth’ of the Gospel, bishop urges

Speaking at the annual Aid to the Church in Need youth rally, Bishop Keenan said we should not ‘sugar-coat’ our Faith

By Amanda Connelly


Bishop John Keenan has called for young people to be given the ‘undiluted truth’ of the Gospel message as hundreds of Catholic school pupils gathered for Aid to the Church in Need Scotland’s annual youth rally.

Around 900 young people from across four of Scotland’s Catholic dioceses arrived for the rally in Carfin Lourdes Grotto, which saw an outpouring of support from some of the world’s most persecuted Christians.

The weather prevailed as pupils from a number of Catholic schools gathered at the national Marian shrine for the rally, where they enjoyed a day filled with prayer, music, social media campaigning and humour.

Led by Bishop Keenan of Paisley along with assistant priest at Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Fr Martin Delaney, the young people were treated to musical performances and testimonies from London-based ­Christian pop band Ooberfuse, and heard from former comedian Fr Frankie Mulgrew.

Fr Mulgrew, the son of comedian Jimmy Cricket and a priest of Salford Diocese, performed a humorous talk with a serious message on the need for Christian unity towards those persecuted for their Faith across the world—particularly in Syria and Iraq.


Joyful Faith

The day began with an opening prayer and speech by Bishop Keenan and Lorraine McMahon of ACN Scotland, as the schools were led in song by the Taylor High School choir.

Bishop Keenan said it was important for young people to be told the reality that many Christians face across the world as a result of persecution.

“I think probably the message of today is don’t be afraid to be joyful in your Faith, but don’t be afraid to give young people the undiluted truth of the Gospel,” he told the SCO at the rally.

“If you give them the undiluted truth, they are idealists, and they will respond. They don’t want mediocrity, they don’t want things sugar-coated. They want you to tell them as it is, and then to ask them to get involved, and they will.”


High point

The bishop also spoke of his pride in Scotland’s young Catholics at how well they participated in the day’s events. He described the rally as ‘one of the high points in the year’ for the Catholic Church in Scotland, and stressed the importance for young ­people and adults alike to support our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“This is perhaps the biggest gathering of young people we’ve had in the country for a Faith event this year, and it was great to see them,” he said.

“I was proud of them because when it came to the talks, they listened; when it came to the jokes, they laughed; when it came to the ­adoration, they prayed; when it came to the action, they gave.

“It’s the idea that we are all one—it brings that message home. We can’t say because they’re over there they’re not our brothers and sisters, because they are only five hours away by plane.

“Yet the rights and privileges we’ve got, they don’t really have. I think it got the message across that there really is suffering—there’s martyrdom going on in our Church and we can do ­something about it.”


Turn to page 13 for more on the rally and photos of the young Catholics who took part.

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