Irish teens for International Run4UnityWednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Schools in Dublin, Meath, Tuam, Newry and elsewhere around the country have held local Run4Unity events in advance of the third international Run4Unity at Government Buildings and the Stormont estate, Belfast, on Saturday May 12.
Fifty students from Coláiste na hInse, Bettystown, Co Meath did the sponsored run as a Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) project on windswept Bettystown /Laytown beach on Friday. “They liked the idea of building unity, because CSPE talks a lot about working together and trying to create a better world and that really interested them,” said their teacher Sinead O Donnell, who organised the event with fellow teacher Anthony Murphy.
Students were also struck by the School-Mates project and how the sponsorship money they raise goes towards educating young people of their own age in poorer countries.
For example, one project is the Rainbow School in Uganda where young people can study or learn a trade. Organised by Youth for Unity, (young people of the Focolare Movement, www.youthforunity.org), at the heart of the Run4Unity is the, "Golden Rule,” common to the main world religions and philosophies: "Do to others what you want them do to you.”
After the local runs is the international Run4Unity at Stormont on Saturday. It is a youth relay race with a difference. The baton, a virtual one, is passed around the world from one time zone to the next via an internet link. Young people, youth clubs and schools from all over Ireland will gather in Belfast, receive the baton from Luxembourg, run their stage of the race and pass it on to Iceland.
"This event is a symbolic way of connecting young people throughout the world. People can be part of something in Belfast that has started off in Australia and will end in the USA!” said Michele Marken recently retired Principal, well known passionate educational broadcaster and regular contributor to BBC Sunday Sequence.
“The aim is to unite people on this day and to express a common desire to work for peace and unity across the globe,” she added.
Run4Unity is also one of the options for pastoral preparation for post-primary age group for the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC). In the build-up to the run many young people are living Communion with Christ; Through Living His Words in our daily life.
Six Gospel phrases have been linked to mathematical symbols, forming the basis of a programme to facilitate the practical living out of faith. Communion with One another involves the School Mates project and enrolling for the Run4Unity.
In June, the Run4Unity celebration for all who participated will be held as a central part of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress programme on June 16 in the RDS main arena.
In the Cross and Passion College in Ballycastle, urged on by 14 year old student Conleth Burns, the whole school is getting involved in the project, one teacher is even writing a song that will be performed on the day.
“It has given the chance for people in my school to see that the Gospel is still alive. In recent weeks, the corridors of the school have really come to life with posters about the event. It provides an opportunity, to us as young people, to strengthen our faith and do something together to put the values of our own school into practice,” he said.
Young people from all over Ireland are expected to travel for the 5km run around the grounds of the Stormont Estate. On the same day, more than 100,000 young people will be taking part in the event all over the world from Europe to Australia, and America.
Run4Unity was in Dublin a few years ago and as it is in Stormont this year, it is sponsored by John McCallister MLA (UUP), Robin Swann MLA (UUP) and Conall McDevitt MLA (SDLP).
Run4unity on May 12 in Stormont is open to everyone.
"It is not too late to join this wonderful event," said one of the organisers, Irene Jovaras.
"All you have to do is go online and register at www.youthforunity.org and come along at 1.00pm on the day." For further information, contact Irene at email@example.com or ring or text (086) 089 8740. Also, see: www.iec2012.ie/scoolresources
by Ann Marie Foley