The Archdiocese of Birmingham is being invited to join hundreds of young people and adults across the country and stay siLENT.

Each Lent Million Minutes (the Catholic national youth charity) runs siLENT, whereby individuals, parishes, schools and communities are invited to take time to give up the things that fill their life with noise and restlessness.

By staying siLENT they are standing in solidarity with young people who don’t have a voice, for whom silence isn’t a choice. And collectively aim to create a million minutes of silence in the process!

Each minute is sponsored to raise money for young people to change their lives and their local communities. With all of the money going to fund youth led social action projects across the country that live out Catholic social teaching principles.

In Lent 2020 Aaron Omotosho (a Pope Francis award recipient, pictured above) is joining Million Minutes for 24 hours of silence by taking time away from his phone and social media accounts.

Aaron, aged 20, was inspired to take part after meeting Pitchou, a young homeless asylum seeker on the streets of Manchester. Aaron quickly realised the man spoke no English but was in desperate need of some food.

From there, a friendship developed. Over the coming weeks Aaron put in place plans to make sure Pitchou was cared for. From those small beginnings ‘Help Manchester’, a homelessness project, was formed.

Aaron explains: “I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can do something to help people. But when I met Pitchou it made me realise that it could be anybody. That could be me. That could be any one of my friends, my family and I know if they were in that position, I would do anything I could to help them out.”

During Lent Aaron will be helping create a deafening silence for overlooked young people like Pitchou.

Aaron explains the difference he wants to make: “Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Sometimes we need a hands-on approach. It doesn’t have to be anything major. The smallest things can make a difference. That’s why I am joining siLENT. I’ll give up my phone and social media accounts for 24 hours and commit to action. I know every penny raised will go to help young people change the world.”

Through this action Aaron is directly supporting youth led grant-funded projects across the country.

In his hometown of Manchester students with learning difficulties from St John Vianney SEN school have built an allotment project, funded by Million Minutes, which is helping feed young refugee families in the local area.

Aaron reflects: “Having arrived in the UK myself in 2011, I can sympathise with the refugees who live in my local area. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, my work in Manchester is a symbol of that, and hearing about what St John Vianney’s are doing, the students often overlooked themselves, they are doing their part too. Together we are making our world a kinder and better place to live. And for that I’m really proud.”

Danny Curtin, CEO of Million Minutes, said: “This Lent, let’s speak up with silence. Sign up now for siLENT 2020. Instead of simply cutting out sugar or chocolate, take time to give up the things that fill life with noise and restlessness.

“By doing this you will not only allow time for silence, but your sponsorship will make a real difference to young people supporting the Church to accompany young people, especially those without a voice.”