The presence and participation of youth is synonymous with the concept of an Oratory. From its origins, the Oratory is that environment which opens its doors to youth and adolescents, providing the opportunity for them to find a sheltered place to come as they are and encounter others. The same can be said for the MSSP Oratory as it has always held to heart the formation and well-being of youth.
In recent years, youth presence has been on the increase and the need was felt to minister widely and holistically to them. Following on the examples of other lay communities that meet at the Oratory, to date, we host eight groups of youth who meet regularly and follow their own specific pastoral programme whilst, at the same time, participating in the wider community, especially throughout the main liturgical celebrations.
The ages of our youth vary from 20-33 and amongst our groups, there has been the need to minister specifically to couples who have recently received the sacrament of marriage and have started a family. The Word of God remains central to the Youth Community with the practice of Lectio Divina. Specific formation courses are devised for our youth through the dedication and service of our youth leaders.
A youth mass is held every month which also serves as an outreach to invite other youth who are not part of the community to participate and attend. For the past three years our youth host annual events as a means to introduce the Community to others – mainly through Lenten talks targeted at youth and through the summer youth faith-camp, ‘Echo’.
Youth are encouraged to actively minister in different ways, not only within the Youth Community itself but also in the wider community. Recently, adolescents have been led by our youth. Formation of youth leadership is also an evolving initiative and this year saw two of our youth members minister and lead a new youth group.