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What young people want

Luke Bogoni  |  22 August 2018

Starting out his career as a teacher, Luke Bogoni remembered how boring he’d found RE class. So he asked his students what they wanted out of the class, and was surprised by their response.

I remember at school, I was always told by my teacher that ‘young people are the life of the Church’. I never really understood what it meant back then, but now I do.

As a student, although I was a practising Catholic, religion was my least favourite subject. The reason I didn’t like it was because I did not find the content fresh, fun nor relevant and felt that I was being preached the content by my teacher, rather then it being explained to me. It seemed more of a ‘dos and do nots’ class.

Fast forward to today, and I am now that teacher.

Before the start of the school year, I decided that I didn’t want my students to feel the same way I did when I was in their shoes. I wanted Religious Education (RE) to be a class that students would enjoy and want to be there, not because they had to be. The question I had to ask myself however, was ‘how am I supposed to do this?’.

Well what better way to know than to ask the students themselves? To my surprise, what they wanted most was the exact same thing that I wanted when I was their age – answers.

Many of the youth today are reluctant to ask questions about faith, life and love for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean that they still don’t want the answers. Knowing this, I decided to create an online forum where my students could (anonymously or not) have the opportunity to ask the questions that they wanted answered.

To my amazement, I received an extensive number of questions ranging from ‘who were Jesus’ best friends?’ to ‘how are our souls purified in purgatory?’. This forum has entirely changed the dynamic of my classes. Now students are completely engaged and want to know all that they can.

Being a young person in the Church is hard. Trust me, I’ve been there. There are times where I have wondered to myself if it was really worth it. But the answer has always been yes. Faith is a gift that we do not all receive, but one that we can receive. And although I cannot tell my students what to ‘do or do-not-do’, I can certainly pray for them and provide them with the means to understand why as Catholics we do what we do.

If we are to engage young people in the life of the Church, then we need to think outside the box. We need to make God fresh, fun and relevant, showing them how he is a source of hope, strength and ultimately love.

In this ‘Year of Youth’ we are all called to reconnect with our young people and show them how important the faith truly is, because as my teacher once told me ‘young people are the life of the Church’. But just like myself, they may not understand that yet.

See Australian Catholics Faith Education for some reflections and activities.

Image: Luke Bogoni with some of his students at St Joseph's School, Northam WA

 

Topic tags: ourrelationshipwithgod, prayerliturgyandthesacraments, healthycommunitylife

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