Members of the Catholic social justice group, Young Christian Students (YCS) recently met to recognise the social justice work that has been done by the young people in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta over the past 12 months.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta attended the event on 18 November 2022, which showcased work of the students from St Andrews College, Marayong, St Columba’s Catholic College, Springwood, and St Luke’s Catholic College, Marsden Park.
For their project, the St Andrew’s College students explored the issues around mental health and consent. They tackled these issues through awareness campaigns on social media platforms and face-to-face interactions on school grounds. The representatives presenting from the school’s YCS group, reported they will continue to work on issues around mental health with a focus on individualism.
Both St Columba’s and St Luke’s Catholic College YCS groups, had explored the topic of multiculturalism from the perspective of their communities’ realities. During the year, St Columba’s YCS students focused on expanding the selection of multicultural books for their school library. The group hoped to raise their peers’ interest in reading more books either about different cultural stories, stories written by Indigenous authors or books written by People of Colour. YCS students at St Luke’s organised a Multicultural Day Celebration at their school and in their local community.
The YCS movement is the student group of the Young Christian Workers (YCW), which was the movement founded by Joseph Cardijn and was established in 1925. Using the methodology set by the founder “See, Judge and Act” young people can explore and discuss social justice issues that are a part of their realities and find ways to dissect the issue and work together in tackling the issue. Together as a movement young people support and empower each other for their personal growth and as well as to better the society and communities around them.
This is the second Acknowledgement ceremony held in the Diocese of Parramatta, and was led by the students themselves.
YCW Student Engagement Office, Irene Baik said, “It was inspirational to see the students take charge and lead their ceremony and embody what the movement stands for. This was seen through their presentations of what each school was exploring and just how the students presented themselves, as changemakers.”
Katelyn Calima, a YCS graduate from St Andrew’s College said, “YCS isn’t just about educating others but educating ourselves too. It has formed an integral sense of passion for justice and has encouraged me to become a person of active social change within our own world.”
Other students also shared they felt YCS is a safe platform where young students can come together to tackle social issues and provide them with an opportunity to make a difference in their worlds and communities.
With thanks to Young Christian Workers (YCW) and Young Christian Students (YCS).