BY A STAFF REPORTER ATHOLIC youth work projects had been offered Government grants totalling E225,000 in the past five years, said Mr. Edward Short, Secretary of State for Education and Science, last week.
He was opening a new Youth Service Training Centre for the diocese of Nottingham at Crich, near Matlock, which was blessed by Bishop Ellis of Nottingham.
Mr. George Brown, M.P. for Belper, and directors of education for the counties within the diocesan boundaries, were among 300 people who attended the ceremony.
The centre, formerly a vegetarian guest house, was bought and adapted for £35,000, of which £16,684 came from a Government grant negotiated by the Catholic Youth Service Council. A sponsored walk by young people in the diocese raised £1,400 in one day.
FR. KLEE DIRECTOR
Fr. Paul Klee, formerly parish priest of Shepshed, near Loughborough, has been appointed the full-time director of the centre which will sponsor courses in religious training for youth leaders, residential school-leaver events and be available for use by local education authorities and industry for the training of young people.
Mr. Short, opening the centre, said the years between leaving school and marriage had probably a greater potential to influence for good or ill the kind of people we were than the pre-school years. The teenager had a powerful need for companionship, an almost embarrassing abundance of physical energy. and an idealism which wanted to destroy the world and remould it "nearer to the heart's desire".
Once he had left school his opportunities to satisfy these basic needs were very limited indeed. Youth service provided for these needs, especially in work for the community. "The selfish life is the unhappy one: the happy life is the one which submerges self in service to others".
It was in this context, said Mr. Short, that he applauded the work the Churches were doing in training youth leaders. Church groups had so much to offer. "The parish is a natural basis for inter-generational links and the social expression of Christian care can be pro
moted through community
"But the work of the Church in youth service does not stop there. Many of our friends in the service who do not share our religious convictions are the first to recognise the value of the Christian ethic as a basis for communal living in a crowded society".
After praising the work of the Catholic Youth Service Council and in particular its willingness to co-operate with other Churches he concluded: "Youth work is still evolving, and the Churches, I am sure, have a particularly important part to play. I have no doubt that all of you who are concerned with the Youth Service will continue to show the same enthusiasm and dedication in tackling the challenges ahead".