“On the margins I have discovered so many social movements with roots in parishes or schools, that bring people together to make them become protagonists of their own histories, to set in motion dynamics that smacked of dignity. Taking life as it comes, they do not sit around resigned or complaining but come together to convert injustice into new possibilities. I call them ‘social poets’.”
Pope Francis, Let Us Dream, 2020.
When faced with some of the biggest challenges the human race has ever faced; climate change, inequality, mass migration, war and polarising politics, the only thing that can break through is HOPE. How many times have you changed the channel, or switched off the news recently? It is a scientific fact that shock tactics and fear trigger fight or flight receptors and causes our brain to shut down. Climate anxiety and concern about our economic and political systems sadly leads to apathy and indifference at a time when action is needed more than ever.
Messages of hope, on the other hand, open up the mind to creative solutions. It is young people who often have the greatest capacity for creativity and for cutting through to share the message. Collective imagining brings people together to dream for a better future.
Pope Francis is asking us to dream: “We can start to discern, to see new possibilities, at least in the little things that surround us, or that we do each day. And then, as we commit to those small things we start to imagine another way of living together, of servicing our fellow beloved creatures. We can begin to dream of real change, change that is possible.”
As a result of this clear call for hope, Caritas Westminster and the Diocese of Westminster Education Service have launched a new collective imagining programme called Imagining Futures, to encourage audacious collective imagining in schools, to create ambitious visions for the future, and small steps for personal and society change and activism, through heads, hearts and minds.
I hope that this project will go beyond purely inspiring young people, but will lead to a wider intergenerational dialogue and movement towards change. Hopes, dreams and inspirational young Catholic activists are key to urgent systems change!
Quoting Joel chapter 2v28, in Let Us Dream, Pope Francis also said:
“‘Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions’ (Joel 2:28) The future will be born from the conjunction of the young and the old. To dream of a different future, we need to choose fraternity over individualism as our organising principle. Fraternity, the sense of belonging to each other and to the whole of humanity, is the capacity to come together and work together against a shared horizon of possibility.”
Meriel Woodward is Assistant Director
of Caritas Westminster.
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