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Young Catholics must keep up the momentum of the Year of Faith and World Youth Day 2013

Aidan Cook re-launches Strong in Faith for the new academic year

Late last month, Pope Francis met with a group of young pilgrims in Rome and, in his losing remarks, told them to go and ‘make noise’—not to keep quiet about their faith but to proclaim it from the rooftops. With the return of the Strong in Faith project, we hope to do just that.

Almost one year ago, with the beginning of the Year of Faith, we launched the Strong in Faith project. Our main aim was to get young Scottish Catholics talking about their Faith, openly discussing their challenges, joys, hopes and beliefs.

We often hear of how young people are turning away from religion, and, while it may be true that young practising Catholics are at times few and far between, we were sure that the faith and hope of those few would be an inspiration. I think the quality of the discussion last year showed that without a doubt. And this was the second aim of the project: to bring the vibrant, deep Faith of the younger generation to the wider Church.

But this year we have even greater plans. Or rather, we have the same plans, but more greatly. We want the Strong in Faith Facebook page to be a hub for young Scottish Catholics, with details of upcoming events, inspiring news and quotes, and of course, discussions. In the fast paced world of social media, last year’s fortnightly discussions got a little lost in the constant chatter. So this year, you will see more frequent discussions on even more topics.

As before, a selection of the best online discussion will be reproduced in these redesigned pages of The Scottish Catholic Observer so that even more Catholics can see the debate. A short column will accompany the discussion to provide further details and insight into Church teaching on the topic.

As well as hosting the discussion, we want to give young people a more direct voice, and so we will be featuring regular comment and opinion pieces from young Catholics in Scotland. There is a lot to be said, and a lot to be heard.

Last November, on the feast of St Margaret, we also held a successful Strong in Faith conference with speakers such as Bishop Hugh Gilbert and James MacMillan. This year we hope to do the same, building on last year’s experience. We have some exciting ideas in the works, so watch this space.

As the Year of Faith draws to a close, it is time not only to reflect on its events but also to explore how to take it forward, how to keep up the momentum of the Year of Faith and of World Youth Day. The point of the Strong in Faith project, and indeed of the Faith itself, is not just to discuss but to make a real change: the lifelong process of our own conversion to God, the evangelisation of culture, and the spreading of the Gospel, so that in all things God might be glorified.

Upcoming discussion topics include:


— What was your experience of World Youth Day?


— Has the Year of Faith made a difference to your life of faith?


— What Faith-related plans or hopes do you have for the year ahead?


— How should we react to the plight of Christians in Egypt and Syria?


— What penance do you perform on Fridays and why?


— Get on Facebook at and have your say on these topics and/or share any youth events news.


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