Being a Hebrew-speaking Catholic youth in Israeli society is a joy but also a challenge. Young age is an important period in life, a time in which we live experiences that shape us physically, intellectually, relationally and spiritually. In the Saint James Vicariate, a lot of time and energy is invested in the pastoral work with our Hebrew-speaking Catholic children and youth.
The youth activities of the Vicariate are multiple:
- After-school activities: in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for children who received the Sacrament of Confirmation, generally at the age of 12 or 13. These activities are focusing especially on encouraging the youth to become active members of their religious community. In Tel Aviv, they can take guitar or piano lessons; a church band has also been created, to play during the Hebrew Mass for the children.
To watch the Tel Aviv band in action:
- Youth groups: they depend on the age of the participants. These groups have regular meetings during weekends during which they discuss and organize various activities, such as musical shows. There are currently five youth groups:
- Three youth groups for those aged 14-17, named “Desert Flower”. The participants have monthly meetings where they receive a human and Catholic formation and build friendships.
- One youth group for those aged 18-25, also named “Desert Flower”. Because some are already professionally active, the group can only have between five and six meetings in a year. However, each of these meetings offers them the opportunity to reflect together on their faith and raise several issues linked to their identity as adult Hebrew-speaking Catholics. This group is a platform that gives them the space to discuss and reflect on their role within their communities and in Israeli society.
- One youth group for young adults between 25 to 35. They have a couple of meetings a year as well, during weekends, where they get the chance to share about their faith and their daily experience as Hebrew-speaking Catholics, discuss ideas and projects, or simply talk with their friends and get the opportunity to see each other.
- Summer camps: five times a year camps are organized, according to age groups and holiday periods. Some members of the older youth groups often come to help and act as activity leaders and guides for the younger children.
- Sports camps: in 2022, a program was launched to organize a basketball and a football camp.
- ERASMUS exchange programs: in 2019, in partnership with the group KISI - God's singing kids, the Hebrew-speaking youth community was able to travel to Austria. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary stop to these exchanges, but they were replaced by a virtual project where the youth from the St James Vicariate created their own Christmas video in partnership with the youth from Austria, Germany and the Netherlands:
In 2021, as foreigners could not enter Israel due to the pandemic, the Hebrew-speaking Catholic youth traveled once more to Austria. Based on that experience, they put on a musical show that was filmed by the CMC:
Such exchange programs allow the youth to strengthen their own Christian identity and feel part of the universal Church.
- Young Leadership workshops: with the collaboration of the Finish Evangelical Luther Mission (FELM), the vicariate offers a 2-year training program for the youth to learn about leadership, management and guidance.
Each year, the pastoral program is also built based on the various events that are bound to take place during the upcoming months (such as World Youth Day, for instance). On several occasions, the Vicariate has also organized projects in collaboration with the Hebrew-speaking Arabic youth community; in some places, they were thus able to celebrate Mass in Hebrew for the first time in history and let young Arabs who speak both Arabic and Hebrew know about the various Hebrew-speaking catholic events that take place in Israel. Such projects are bound to continue in the near future.
Youth coordinator for the pastoral work and activities: Mrs. Katrin Tal
- St. James Vicariate
- P.O.B. 581
- Jerusalem 9100402
E-mail: [email protected]
All of these programs, projects and activities would not be possible without the generous donations made to the Vicariate. You can make a donation by clicking here. Thank you for supporting us!