MAKING SAINTS – AN ADVENTURE IN LOVE
Over 700 adults engaged in Youth Ministry in England and Wales assembled in London (on Saturday 12th March) for a National Congress. The theme: “Called to a Noble Adventure – A Vision for Youth Ministry”.
CYMFed – the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation – organised the event in the knowledge that those present represent work and ministry with over 100,000 young people per year, committed to a vision of vibrant Youth Ministry in the Church. During the Papal Visit one of the key things that the Holy Father reminded us was to ‘know our purpose’. This Congress, in part, prompted all to know that their calling and work makes a unique contribution to the mission of the Church.
Keynote Speakers were Reverend J-Glenn Murray SJ, Michelle Moran and David Wells with input from Cardinal Peter Turkson and Paschal Uche.
Fr Murray told the gathering that as children of God we should not be afraid. In the ordinary things we do are the characteristics of saints. Saints of old lost their tempers and made mistakes. Our job is to make saints and we walk in good company on this noble adventure.
Michelle Moran emphasised the need for authentic catechesis alongside experiential faith. We seriously need to ensure that our ministry has both of these things; without either it is lacking.
David Wells advised that if you lose your vocation, or the passion of love, then go back to the beginning of your dream, to the place where you first fell in love.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, reminded us to keep working against poverty and injustice. On our behalf he has called on world leaders to keep their promises of investing in material poverty. He challenged everyone to also address spiritual poverty.
Paschal Uche, who welcomed Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of Britain’s young Catholics last September, spoke of the importance of his Christian Faith and that it’s part of who he is. The Papal Visit and events like the Congress give an immense feeling of family.
At this year’s Congress there was a sense of joy, community and a common purpose among those who gathered. Youth Ministry in England and Wales has to be a life-changing adventure of making saints because our God demands nothing less from us. It is an adventure of embracing the Gospel in its fullness and being radically transformed by it. It is an adventure full of love and the adventure continues following the announcement of Flame – a National Congress for Young People in March 2012.
Comments from participants on the day:
Br Ben Foy (De La Salle):
“I’m very interested in how Youth Ministry is developing and I want to encourage that, and that’s why I belong to CYMFed. I think the sessions, both last year, and what we’ve already heard today, have been excellent and really encouraging. A great atmosphere and great to meet lots of wonderful people.”
“I feel that as a country we need to unite our youth work and follow one mission as opposed to being separate organisations that try and work for young people but with their own goals. We need to realise we are one church and united we need to work for the same mission. I’ve really enjoyed it [this morning]. Really enjoyed Michelle Moran’s Keynote speech and Dave Well’s Introduction, I think he’s a fantastic MC. And generally just feel really empowered and inspired by the amount of people that are here.”
Rosanne (SPEC – Archdiocese of Westminster):
“Really very exciting! Michelle Moran was amazing at condensing it down, inspiring you and making you want to be on the journey. So I’m going back actually very excited and try and enthuse other people.”
Fr Stephen Langridge (Chair – Diocesan Vocation Directors):
“I’m here today because I think vocations work has to be rooted in Youth Ministry and the evangelisation of young people.”
“A priest dragged me along last year, but it was so fantastic that I thought I must come back and bring more people with me. As good as I remembered it, probably better! And it’s wonderful to see the candle (National Youth Ministry Symbol) up close!”
Fr. J-Glenn Murray SJ (Washington):
“These kinds of conferences are hilltop experiences where they give people to be charged and inspired, to be affirmed and confirmed in what they are doing, so that they can go back and continue in their ministry.”
“I really liked the fact that Catholics could come together today, brilliant. I also liked the range of stalls and people that we had, just to show what is available out there to people who might not know. The range [of speakers] that we had was just helpful, and reflecting on what the Pope said to us previously was also really good.”
Julia (St. Vincent’s Retreat Centre – Archdiocese of Southwark):
“The whole day was really uplifting and inspired my ministry with young people. What a privilege to be on such a noble adventure.”
“Excellent day on Saturday many thanks to all who organised them can’t wait to bring our saints to Wembley next year.”
“Thank you so much for a very spiritual and uplifting congress, would I go again? YES!”
Fr Andrew Pastore:
“Thanks for a great conference….”
“Great Conference 2011. My first time and loved it!”
“What a wonderful,inspiring day . . . Well done to everyone and thank-you.” x
“. . . A great day! We travelled down from Liverpool for the 2011 CYMFed conference – it was inspirational! Thank you so much to all of you.” x
“Had a great time, now to make some saints!”