Young people from across the Derry Diocese are to sleep in St. Eugene’s Cathedral overnight to raise awareness of homelessness and assist funding for local charities.
The Derry Diocese has organised the all-night Vigil, which takes place on Friday, March 8 from 8pm to 8am.
Youth co-ordinator for the Derry Diocese, Padraig Delargy, said the event came about during discussions with local young people undertaking the Pope John Paul II Award, half of which involves parish work while the other half concentrates on social justice and community matters.
Padraig said: “One of their concerns was that homelessness was becoming such an issue not just in Derry, but across Ireland and they said that they would love to do something with that. “We thought we could have the Sleep Out- Stay Awake at the Cathedral and one of the things is that they will also donate to these four charities so we are actually contributing.”
The four beneficiaries from the event will be Damien House, Depaul, the Simon Community and St. Vincent dePaul.
Young people are being invited to stay awake for at least some of the night and to stay outside for one hour during the night. “We have got a really good response so far,” Padraig added. “The charities also got onboard straight away. The money raised will be split four ways between them.”
Padraig said the Pope John Paul Award was enabling young people to develop an understanding and actually contribute to social issues within parishes and the local community.
So far this year, 542 young people from across the Derry Diocese have finished the Pope John Paul II Award and a further 840 are now enrolled for next year. The award is open to those aged 16- 18 and they do not have to be at school to take part. To enrol or find out more ring 028 71264087.
Those interested in taking part in Sleep Out-Stay Awake on March 8, are advised that booking is essential. Parents/guardians can download the Parental Consent Form at www.derrydiocese.org.
Completed forms should be returned before Monday March 4 to: Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre, The Gate Lodge, 2 Francis Street, Derry, BT48 7DS. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org