On 1 June 2021, the Australian Young Christian Students (AYCS) launched its Pandemic Enquiry for secondary students in schools and parish youth groups throughout Australia.
Shaping our Post-Pandemic World is a five-session enquiry for students in secondary schools and parish youth groups. It has been designed to engage as many students as possible, whether they are in the YCS or not.
The Pandemic Enquiry comprises five sessions which explore “How the Covid-19 Pandemic has affected me, my country and our world; why it should concern me; and what I might be able to do about its consequences”.
The Enquiry was written because the Pandemic has had such a momentous impact on the lives of many, especially students, whose goals and aspirations have been threatened and challenged. It is through a better understanding of how the Pandemic has affected our own lives that we may be able to understand how we, our nation, and the world, might respond to this new reality.
In addition to the five sessions, the Enquiry includes explanatory material on the Enquiry Methodology and the YCS. For YCS groups, the Enquiry can be included in their meeting plans. Overall, the document runs to 16 pages.
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The Pandemic Enquiry was developed with international and national perspectives. It takes up the frequently expressed concerns by Pope Francis. In our “Challenge to Action” session the Enquiry refers to an article written in 2020 by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, on the need for, and the capacity of, Catholics and Catholic organisations throughout Australia to respond to the issues raised by the Pandemic.
In responding by video to the Enquiry, Archbishop Coleridge said:
“There’s always a serious risk that this virus could divide our community, even our human family, rather than bring us together. The virus of fear is worse than COVID-19, and the fear is understandable. The one thing we can control, however, is how we chose to respond; and that’s why I like the step process that has been used in this resource. It adopts the see, judge, act approach popularised by Pope John XXIII, our saint, but spread far and wide by generations of young Catholics and Christians through their fellowship and their working together. I have leafed through the resource and noted the commitment to relationship and building communion between people. Now that’s really fundamental and it will surely help societies recover from the Pandemic and show us the way into the future.
My hope and prayer is that if we can discover our shared humanity more, and more deeply, through the COVID-19 crisis and create new forms of solidarity, then we will come out the other side of this ordeal as better people and stronger communities. This resource, the YCS Enquiry on a Catholic response to the Pandemic, is certainly an aid to that vision and I commend its use as widely as possible.”
The Pandemic Enquiry is the first step in what will be an ongoing campaign on the issues and concerns raised by the Pandemic. Students participating in the Enquiry will be asked to report their concerns, reflections and actions to the AYCS so that they may be recorded on this website. The YCS will collate this information for its own advocacy and for distribution to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and other Catholic institutions to assist them in developing appropriate policies and public advocacy.
For further information on the Pandemic Enquiry, please email Lys Crowe, YCS Melbourne Project Officer, on [email protected]