01 October 2021, The Tablet

Columbans launch fifth schools competition

Columbans launch fifth schools competition

Young people are being urged to consider inequality, injustice, exclusion and environmental degradation in the latest schools competition being run by the Columban Missionary Society.

The theme for the 2022 schools’ competition is “Anyone can make a difference: 21st Century Changemakers”.

The competition is open for writing and image entries until 11 February 2022. Two separate competitions will be judged, in Ireland and in Britain. Judges from the world of journalism include Ruth Gledhill, online editor of The Tablet.

This is the fifth annual Columban competition for young people, and last year the competition attracted nearly 300 entries from nearly 100 schools across Britain and Ireland. 

Columban justice and peace education worker, James Trewby, said: “Pope Francis has recognised that young people demand change, and this competition is a great chance to celebrate those who are actually doing it, putting their faith into action for the common good.”

The theme is based on a quote from climate campaigner Greta Thunberg: “No-one is too small to make a difference.” 

Other “changemakers” highlighted include Pope Francis as “an inspirational figure for his passionate commitment to the poor, to peace and to God’s creation” and young Christians of the Young Christian Climate Network who have been walking to Glasgow from Southern England in a “Relay to COP” since June to lobby for serious action on climate change. 

Columban missionaries are regarded as exemplars of leadership on justice, peace and ecology issues. Fr Pat Cunningham, who works in South Korea, is active with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. Fr Ed O’Connell in Peru has supported more than 400 students in a special needs school and their families during the pandemic. 

Details at www.columbancompetition.com 

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