The Missionary Society of St Columban is inviting young people to enter a journalism competition to mark their centenary, writes Ellen Teague.
Students aged 15-18, who are budding journalists, are asked to write an article or make a video report that informs, challenges and raises important issues on the topic, ‘Migrants are our Neighbours.’
Teachers and parents are asked to alert young people to this opportunity. Two separate strands are offered, one for students in Ireland and one for students in England, Scotland, and Wales. Each has two categories, writing and video, and the closing date for entries is 8th February 2018.
Leading journalists in Ireland and Britain will be judging the entries. The winning articles and videos will be announced in Columban media on 15th March 2018 and there are cash prizes.
The objective is to encourage students to use their journalistic writing and mobile skills to look at a topical issue which is relevant to Catholic Social Teaching and resonates with Columban mission.
Since 2000 the Missionary Society of St Columban has committed itself in a special way to continue accompanying and defending the rights of migrants, and to address the underlying causes that lead to the migration of peoples.
Pope Francis underlines Church teaching about welcoming the stranger when he says: “We have a duty toward our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.”
Migrant and interfaith work has been a Columban priority in all 17 countries where the Columbans work. In Ireland, the Columbans run a ‘Columban Centre’ in Dublin which welcomes asylum seekers and provides English classes.
Also, Columban Fr Bobby Gilmore was a founder member and is on the board of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. In England, Columbans have engaged with migrant communities, and helped to run a house of sanctuary in Birmingham, called Fatima House, for women asylum seekers.
Columbans have participated in ‘Welcome the Stranger’ Walks of Witness in London and Birmingham and there is a long-standing ministry to domestic workers.
The winners in the Irish category will be presented with their prizes on 29th June 2018 at Dalgan Park by former president of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese.
The winners in the British category will be given their prizes at the Centenary Columban celebration at Southwark Cathedral on 30th June 2018 by the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith. For more details, visit: www.columbancompetition.com
Picture: A boy holds a sign during a children’s refugee protest in 2016 in London. (CNS photo/Hannah McKay, EPA).