Q: Archbishop J, what is the Generation S challenge?
Each year Generation S challenges young people to sacrifice for something bigger than themselves: this is at the heart of our Lenten observance. This is who we are as Catholics. We make our lives holy as we seek to live God’s will in a pure and complete way—one moment at a time.
This year I challenge all young Catholics to participate in the Generation S fast. Create a holy moment where you put God first for 24 hours. Through prayer, fasting and your almsgiving you can participate in a very holy activity: the rebuilding of Sea Lots’ homes destroyed by fire.
When, in November 2018, fire broke out in Sea Lots and destroyed the homes of 12 families, they lost everything. Thank God no life was lost. The fire appliances came and did what they could but the fire spread quickly and the destruction was great. These families are still homeless to this date.
The National Evangelisation Team has been working in Sea Lots since 2016, visiting members of the community usually twice a month. They have accompanied the families and have been working to help them rebuild.
A generous benefactor has given red clay blocks; an electrician is giving assistance; plans have been drawn up and cement is being sourced. These houses cannot be rebuilt without your sacrifice: without your prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
So much of our time is spent thinking about what I want, what I believe I need and what will make me happy. You have an opportunity to spend a day thinking about how you can help families in real need. Your sacrifice will help us to help them. You can make a difference.
Generation S Challenge
The Generation S challenge is simple:
Choose to make an impact and make somebody’s life better.
Prepare for the challenge by getting your ‘Fast Cards’.
Ask your friends and family to support you as you fill out as many cards as possible. (Typically you will receive $10 from each person or group supporting you; a 24-hour fast will bring in $240 in sponsorship.
Put some of the money you saved up during Lent onto a Fast Card.
From 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28 to 6 p.m. Friday 29 have nothing but water.
Spend that 24 hours conscious of God, actively seeking and asking for the grace to do His will. Be kind to those you interact with. Spend some quiet time in silence. Do a good deed for someone you interact with. Become very conscious of how close God is.
End the fast with soup on the Friday evening.
Speaking about fasting, the prophet Isaiah (Is 58: 6-9) says:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
Fasting, when combined with prayer and almsgiving, is a very powerful way of rebuilding the ‘inner house’, which is so easily destroyed by the fire of passion and desire. It gives you the space to put things back in order that have been out of order for a while.
It is a spiritual discipline that most religions practice. It is not as common as it used to be but if you want God to hear your voice, take up the Generation S challenge.
Making an impact
As young Catholics you can make an impact. You can bring the energy and vitality needed to rebuild the Body of Christ, the Church. By taking up spiritual discipline on a regular basis, you will connect more deeply with God.
I know feeding the desires and wants is so much easier. This is why we ask you to sacrifice for something bigger than your self and invite you to help rebuild the houses in Sea Lots. In addition to strengthening your relationship with God, you will become aware of the beauty and joy of sacrifice.
By yielding our desire to God’s desire we make the biggest impact. Look at St Teresa of Kolkata, St John Paul II—any of the saints. They have made an impact because they were willing to sacrifice for something bigger than themselves. You can be a force for good. Are you willing to make a sacrifice? Are you ready to take the Generation S challenge?
It is God’s will that we all make a positive impact on this world, that we leave the world a better place than we found it. We do this by consciously seeking after and living our vocation, i.e., the unique way God has called you to make an impact.
If you answer God’s call and you bend your heart to His will, you will make an impact. Spend some time during the fast day asking God to make clear His call for you and give you the courage to live it, no matter what.
Key Message: When we sacrifice for something bigger than ourselves we impact the lives of many others. Let us rebuild houses in Sea Lots and our ‘inner house’ and ultimately the house of God the Church.
Action step: Accept the Generation S Challenge and find friends, family and others to sponsor your fasting from 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28 to 6 p.m. Friday 29. Bring this to the attention of every young person you know and invite them to take up the challenge.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:1–14.