Mentoring in the Year of Mercy

Being a Confirmation catechist in my parish, I am constantly thinking of ways in which I can be more effective in reaching out to the young people on our confirmation course.

Whilst I recognise that the 'big presentations' are important, I also know that some of the most important occasions of real conversion for our youth often take place in the context of one-on-one mentoring conversations. 

Usually implicit in the conversations I have with them, is the question “so you really believe this stuff, what difference has the faith made to you personally?” This challenges me to always be ‘walking the talk’ – I can't simply hide behind the 'big presentations', I need to be an authentic witness and mentor in everything I do.

This Holy Year of Mercy is of course a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy. It is meant for everyone: people of every age, from far and near. Whilst the youth on our Confirmation course can be apathetic to the faith, I can't help but wonder if this is so because they generally come from fairly affluent families, where a sense of self-sufficiency can stifle their ability to see their profound need for God. 

Bearing this in mind, I was heartened to hear recently in the Standard Newspaper from Monsignor Roger Reader (CBCEW prison adviser and FCCT Trustee) that supporting young men in prison in their faith can have a dramatic effect on their lives. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we were more able as a Catholic community, in this Year of Mercy, to witness and support young people in prison who have recognised their need for God? With Catholic young people making up a sizeable part of the prison population, more Catholic volunteers and mentors are absolutely essential in our prisons. 

 If you think you can be of help to Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust (FCCT) mentioned in the Standard who run the mentoring scheme in HMP Isis and Feltham Prisons please contact them on 0208 844 5585


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