The Pope Benedict XVI CARITAS AWARD was introduced in 2011-12 by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to recognise and promote the active faith commitment of young people in their final year of secondary school.
This was the first young people’s awards scheme which has been named in honour of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, – an honour which was granted to the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland by the Vatican Secretariat of State. It was also the first award for young people to be introduced by the Catholic Church in Scotland.
In session 2011-12, 450 young people received the award; in session 2012-13, 900 young people received it. In session 2013-14,over 1200 young people from schools across Scotland were enrolled for the award.
How does it work?
Focussed on three distinctive but interwoven elements – Faith Witness, Faith Learning and Faith Reflection – the Caritas Award is offered as an open invitation to young people of all abilities and all faiths to explore the impact on their lives of Caritas – described in ‘Deus Caritas Est’ as “the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others”. Over the course of one school year, young people in Catholic schools and parishes volunteer to serve their local communities through committing their time and their talents to benefit others.
In the course of the award year, the young people involved, from a range of other religious traditions, are helped to see the links between their faith learning (in school and church), their faith witness and their own personal journey of faith through prayer, reflection and discernment. It is hoped that this year of service will encourage them to continue to share their God-given gifts, talents and time with others as they progress through adulthood.