Calling all YAYAs!
Though its acronym sounds more like a cheer, the YAYA awards — which stands for Youth and Young Adult awards — are definitely something to applaud.
In the 12 months leading up to the 2018 Synod of Bishops “on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” The Visitor will recognize 12 individuals or married couples — one each month starting in September — who are enthusiastic about their Catholic faith and set a good example for their peers.
Nominees for a YAYA award should be between the ages of 15-39 and live in the diocese. They should be registered and active participants in their parish.
The synod, which will take place in October 2018 in Vatican City, is a call from Pope Francis to listen to the voices of the young people.
“Every young person has something to say to others. He or she has something to say to adults, something to say to priests, sisters, bishops and even the pope. All of us need to listen to you,” he said in an April address.
The theme builds on the 2015 Synod on the Family as well as Pope Francis’ exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”
According to the USCCB, the synod on youth aims to “accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they discover their plan for life and realize it with joy, opening up to the encounter with God and with human beings, and actively participating in the edification of the church and of society.”
The Visitor wants to give an ear to the voices of youth and young adults in the diocese and will ask those selected a series of questions, including what they would say to Pope Francis if they had the chance.
“So much news about youth and young adults tends be negative,” said Joe Towalski, editor of The Visitor and communications director for the diocese. “These awards are one way our church can recognize the energy, leadership and service that many Catholic young people contribute in our parishes, schools and communities.”