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10 Catholic youth from around the world share what's giving them hope

Marie Anne Torres

Thursday, June 4, 2020

In this time of upheaval it feels like we’ve heard from practically everyone — politicians, medical professionals, news anchors, and more — but what about the youth?
In this post, 10 Catholic young people from around the world share the big things and little things that are igniting hope in their hearts during the coronavirus pandemic.
May you find a little bit of peace, light, and joy as you read their border-transcending testimonies of hope!
 
1. CANADA
What is giving me hope in these times is watching the amazing live Sunday Masses that I am able to watch from anywhere in the world from home. Watching the beautiful churches and amazing homilies helps me have a new, fresh way to think and get out of my comfort zone. Although there are many negatives in this pandemic, we can think positively and realize that God's creation is getting healthier, the oceans are cleaner, and our cities are less polluted. For me personally, I am enjoying going to work at a garden centre and lightening the mood of the seniors that come and visit, since they need it the most. This pandemic has made me build a deeper feeling of gratefulness for what God has done for me and realize that I am privileged to live in a house with a beautiful family. — Jean Paul D’Andrea
 
2. MEXICO
These days have been difficult: there are people who live day by day and cannot afford to stop working because they wouldn't get enough money for food, but living through the pandemic in Mexico and being witness to how many young people are helping those in critical situations has given me so much hope. This made me reflect that the future is bright and we as a young generation have a role to do and things to learn. I have no doubt that God is working on us and clearly showing his presence of love. Franco Anzures
 
3. TAIWAN
In the past couple of weeks, I have been helping my friends in Mexico gather donations for the people affected and left destitute by the pandemic. This action has been spreading rapidly in our community, and now people from all over Eastern Asia are participating, too. It has brought me infinite hope and joy to see that what started out as a small initiative has now blossomed into something so beautiful. Despite being separated due to the pandemic, we are more united than ever. — Roisin Reynolds
 
4. NIGERIA
My hope comes first from the Lord because I know that He brings joy when morning comes. My daily reflections on scripture and my daily prayers for peace which I say in connection with many people around the world serve as a reminder of God's love. I believe that we shall find that peace soon! The fact that I am more connected now than before with a lot of people from different parts of the world, sharing experiences, dancing together, singing together, praying together...brings so much hope because we draw our strength and motivation from each other. When I look at my nephews who are oblivious to the current happenings but living life in all its beauty, I smile and say "It shall be well", for I see the glory of God in all these. Theodora Idu
 
5. AUSTRALIA
The quote, “blessed are those who do not see and yet believe”, has always fascinated me, and this pandemic has provided me an opportunity to understand these words. This pandemic has also made me realize that we could extend our faith beyond any borders, as I’ve been able to reach out to my Catholic friends around the world. My faith has also been uplifted thanks to my youth group, which has continued to support the youth by conducting programs online, as well as holding an online retreat during Easter. During the initial lockdown, we were unable to attend Mass in person; however, my family was very fortunate to still receive the Holy Sacrament during this time from our parish priest. Furthermore, our parish priest invited us to help facilitate the choir for the livestream Masses, and so my family’s been able to attend Mass once again! Throughout these challenging times, I have really been able to see that God has constantly been sending down blessings, reminding me to carry hope throughout the pandemic. — Lawrence Lo
 
6. USA
Listening to other people's stories and experiences of what they're doing during these troublesome times and hearing about how they are trying to live the present moment or helping those less fortunate gives me hope that after this pandemic we will become stronger and more united than ever. All the acts of kindness I see have also inspired me to get creative and to find ways to help people in my community. Recently, my sisters and I wrote letters to children at a local foster home. The other day, we received back a package full of letters from those children, and there was one letter in particular that struck me. The child had written that she was very happy to have received the notes because she felt like she had not been forgotten amidst the pandemic. Seeing how a simple letter made someone's day gives me hope that I can make a difference with little things to help create a more beautiful world. Chiara Lang
 
7. PHILIPPINES
There are a lot of things that are giving me hope. One is when I got the chance to become what I’ve been praying about for a very long time, to be a lector and to be a youth leader, wherein I proclaim the Word of God. My service to God during this time gives me so much hope because whenever I’m feeling sad or devastated, I just pray to Him and remember the things that I should be thankful for — like the people that surround me, who believe and hope in my capabilities, and how I can influence and motivate them to become closer to God. Lazchmi Lizzel
 
8. GERMANY
When the pandemic began, I was in Toscana, Italy. During that time, I lived together with some musicians of the Christian band Gen Rosso and some other young people. An important source of hope and positivity for me was how close we grew and, of course, the music. Gen Rosso started doing live streams, where they played some of their songs online, and it was nice for me to see the impact of music — how it can also touch the hearts of many people from literally all over the globe.
Once back in Germany, I saw that people always stayed positive and never lost their faith, optimism, and creativity. People rediscovered love for their neighbour — all of a sudden there were various initiatives, for instance offers to do the shopping for older people. It is still great to see that the values of our faiths — doesn't matter which one — were put into practice by everyone in Germany. Bo Fugel
 
9. BRAZIL
As my university activities have stopped, I am home all day with my parents and my grandfather. I see this experience as an opportunity to grow in my relationship with them. I’ve also been watching Mass from TV at least once a week and participating in a Christian group called  the Focolare Movement, for which I have weekly meetings with about 10 guys my age. In these meetings, we share our positive and negative experiences and meditate and grow in our faith. Finally, I am reading the Gospel every day and trying to meditate and write something about what I’ve just read. This makes me feel particularly closer to Jesus. Rafael Queiroga
 
10. ITALY
What gives me hope is knowing God has already figured everything out: I am asked to love in the best possible way and to surrender to Him, trusting that He will turn every sorrow and effort into something beautiful. He wants me to donate the abilities He has given me as my contribution to humankind as well as to be still and put my hope in Him. In this way, the following verses always warm my heart: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11), and also, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Indeed, our God is the God of hope!
When it seems like there is no way, I remind myself that a lot of people pay attention to His voice every day and do what they were called to do despite the evil that surrounds us, and it helps me not to feel alone in this fight: together we can make a difference, and I strongly believe that darkness cannot overcome the light and that love always finds a way. In fact, He tells us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Fabiola Marotti


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