Youngsters gather to stand in solidarity

The choir and band from Taylor High 's choir and band were among those who sold in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the globeACN's Scottish Youth Rally 2018, at Motherwell Concert Hall, Monday 18th June 2018.'Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry ACN.''Taylor High School Choir
The choir and band from Taylor High 's choir and band were among those who sold in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the globeACN's Scottish Youth Rally 2018, at Motherwell Concert Hall, Monday 18th June 2018.'Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry ACN.''Taylor High School Choir

More than 700 young people had a live link-up with students in the Syrian city of Aleppo at the climax of a youth rally organised by Aid to the Church in Need.

The students representing 22 schools from across Scotland had face-to-face time with students from the Christian Catechism Centre, which is made up of young people from across Aleppo, supported by ACN.

The youth rally, the fourth of its kind, took place at Motherwell Concert Hall, and included a presentation on ACN projects in Syria by the charity’s Middle East projects coordinator Father Andrzej Halemba.

In his talk, Father Halemba described the plight of people in Aleppo, including a young girl, called Rita who he explained was determined to stay in the country because of her faith.

He highlighed atrocities against Christian communities by Daesh (ISIS) and other extremists, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

Father Halbema said: “Faced with the Church in need, we cannot be silent bystanders.”

There was music by electro-pop band Ooberfuse and Taylor High choir and band and St Maurice’s High samba band, and the Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was led by Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.

At the event, which was compered by DJ Steve McKenna and supported by volunteers, teachers and parents, Bishop Keenan gave the keynote address.

Also present were Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell and Father Martin Delaney, youth coordinator for Motherwell diocese.

Bishop Keenan said: “The ACN Youth Day and the faces and faith of the young people in Aleppo challenged and encouraged the young Catholics of Scotland who were there at this great event.”

Scottish schools and others participating in the day posted enthusiastic messages of support such as “uplifting and inspiring day,” “wonderful event” and “the live link to Aleppo @ACN_Scotland was a great opportunity to bring human issues to life.”