Hello Bishop Paul,
We are wondering how we as teachers and catholic leaders in our community can help support our students who are struggling with their faith journey.  They could be questioning their faith.  They may have had a tragic event in their lives and are questioning why God would let this happen to them.
These moments often happen during casual conversation or closed door type discussions when students come to us.
We are also interested in any local resources that we can join to help build community in a faith based environment.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, L, S, S, C

Hi L, S, S, C,
Well, first I would say that the fact that you pose these questions is already an important step.  It shows that you care about the faith of your students.

Questions of faith from young people can arise, of course, from varying contexts or situations.  The more acute or painful the context, the more important is the fiath witness, rather than 'merely intellectural' explanations or theology.  By faith witness I mean first of all, caring and then discrete and gentle signaling that our own faith and prayer is there to accompany them in their pain.

I am impressed by your mention of "community ...faith based environment".  For sure it is something needed to better support and nourish the faith of young people, even outside school, whether they are in crisis or just curious about going deeper into the faith journey.

I think something like a "faith circle" or reflection club or group within the school for students and interested teachers could be a possibility.  Or it could be a group for interested teachers and adults and parents in the community connected to the school and who want to be available to students with 'faith troubles'.

As far as I know, such a group has yet to be "invented" or initiated in Bonnyville or Cold Lake.  Personally, (if I know early enough in advance) I would be happy to go to, at least, a first exploratory meeting or gathering to encourage such a group or groups.

I know that Julie Chorney has and uses the YOUCAT or Youth Cathechism which is in Q & A format with deliberately concise and short answers.  You can access it through her and it would always be a good resource, at least for teachers, even if not immediately for young children.

As your email, seems to suggest, the sharing of faith in discussion and questioning is itself, nourishing and supportive for the faith journey.

Now that you have my email, please, feel free to send me questions any time.  I am happy to join in with whatever I can offer.

Blessings, †Bishop Paul