.- On November 23rd, a group of 17 Arizona-based students returned from a three-week long trip to Northern Ireland to spread the message of their faith. According to the Archdiocese of Phoenix, âLeaders of Youth Arise North America, a six-month school of evangelization based in Tempe, plugged into existing ecumenical programs that are working to end years of violence and hatred between Catholics and Protestants.â
The Youth Arise participants range in age from 18-30 and come from across the country to participate in the six-month program, which climaxes with the mission trip. During their six months, the students participate in theological and spiritual formation, daily prayer, daily mass and Bible study. According to the Archdiocese of Phoenix, âIn exchange, participants sacrifice personal freedoms for the sake of communal living. They share dormitory-style rooms and rely on Youth Arise to meet their personal needs, expenses included in the schoolâs $6,000 tuition.â
David âQâ Quintana, one of the staffers the youth worked with in Belfast said Youth Ariseâs love for the Church âis quite helpful for the work here in West Belfast because most of the young people here arenât that Christian or that Catholic.â
While in Ireland, the group worked in some of the most impoverished areas of Belfast and itâs suburbs, organizing and assisting with retreats and other activities for youth of the area, both Protestant and Catholic.
âYouâre looking up to these guys and seeing how Christ has worked in their lives and maybe theyâll [Irish students] want Christ to work in their own lives as well,â said 16-year old Blaine Douglas, one of the local youth. âI donât think it matters that theyâre Catholic,â he added.
The school was formed 4 years ago in response to Pope John Paul IIâs call for a New Evangelization by âbolstering Catholicsâ knowledge of the Church and encouraging a personal relationship with Christ.â