True accompaniment is a simple idea
We were looking at working with a new parish, so I visited some nuns who lived there and are active in the church. We sat down together, having a meal and enjoying getting to know each other and their order. Then the conversation turned to Courtyard.
The usual questions came up:
…what is Courtyard?
… what projects do you run?
… how do you engage with young people?
In the past I used to dread these questions.
Not because I wouldn’t know how to respond, but because Courtyard is so diverse. A parish reaching out to young people can take so many different forms. Outreach and welcome is and must be: bespoke to each parish individual, and the young people taking part.
So while not being a complex idea, there are many possibilities and people often want a more straightforward answer.
This time, I explained to the sisters that we aim to accompany young people, and just be there with them during this turbulent time of their lives. This, they completely understood.
They understood that just by being there, you can have a positive impact that cannot be quantified or summed up by a project proposal.
This encounter gave me real strength and a renewed confidence that there are many people in our parishes who know the value of accompaniment.
The meal with these nuns has given me a new lease of life. It has allowed me to see Courtyard not as a complex idea, but an one so simple that it can inspire fruits beyond our imagination.