As a young adult in the Diocese of Westminster, there are lots of Catholic events and groups to get involved with. Every parish has its own life and groups to join and become part of, but as more and more diocesan-wide groups come on the scene I thought it’d be a great opportunity to share a couple of the many gems in the diocese that you may like to get involved with. This list is by no means exhaustive or to say that other groups aren’t as good, but rather an attempt to show the vast range of activities you can get involved with around London in a Catholic setting.
1. Soul Food
Soul Food is a Catholic charismatic prayer group for young adults that meet every Thursday evening for worship, teaching and faith sharing. A night at Soul Food starts with praise and worship, followed by a talk or Bible-based teaching on a particular theme. This is usually followed up with a time of response, such as prayer ministry, small group discussion or faith sharing, individual prayer and meditation or Eucharistic Adoration. For more info, check out their website.
For those interested in missionary work, Nightfever meets up monthly at St Patrick’s, Soho, and takes place on Saturday evenings, with music and adoration. Soft candlelight and gentle, prayerful music fills the church. It is into this setting that passers-by are invited. The square outside the church has a constant flow of people (shoppers, workers, partygoers etc) and Nightfever volunteers situate themselves around the square to invite people in to light a candle in the church. Some stay for a few minutes, many others are struck by the stillness, beauty and peace as, once inside, thousands have had very deep spiritual moments with God even when this has been their first time entering a church. For more info, check out their website.
3. Pure in Heart
Pure in Heart is an international Catholic movement of young adults who, through prayer and friendship, strive together to learn, live and share the truth and beauty of the revolutionary Catholic teaching of Theology of the Body. For those unaware of what this is, it is the teachings of Saint John Paul the Great on living our whole physical life dedicated to God. It encompasses everything from sports to human sexuality and relationships and has won much acclaim for how down to earth, life-giving and revolutionary these teaching are. Meeting every Wednesday evening at Heythrop College in Kensington, the group’s normal evening layout begins at 7pm with Adoration, praise and worship and rosary, often with a chance for the sacrament of confession. There is then an opportunity for socialising before a talk on some area of theology of the body, which is then discussed in groups. The evening ends with the group going to socialising further in the pub.
4. Youth 2000
Youth 2000 seeks to draw young people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, lived at the heart of the Catholic Church. It does this primarily through weekend prayer festivals, where young people are introduced to the essentials of the Catholic faith: Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, Scripture, Devotion to Our Lady. These festivals are opportunities for young people to experience the love of God, to receive the grace of conversion and to begin living anew the Christian life and happen relatively often. In London they also have several prayer groups. These Prayer Groups are a life-giving opportunity for you to come to know and love God more fully, to make him a bigger part of your life, to let his love radiate through you to your friends and family. They run Tuesdays from 7:15 to 9:15pm. From more info, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their website.
One for those who love smells and bells! Juventutem is an international federation of Catholics associated with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Juventutem is two things: on one level it is a forum where anyone can meet up with like-minded young Catholics; on another it is a formal vessel for our sanctification and renewal.
6. London Catholic Young Adults
The purpose of this group is to help young Catholics get to know other young Catholics in London. Ran primarily through Facebook and email, the group puts together some exciting, fun events for us all to meet each other and help build everyone’s Catholic people network. Events are varied but always a good laugh and a great way to both stay in contact with young Catholics you meet and realise just how large the church community is.
7. Mount Street Jesuit Centre
Great for those wanting to develop an overall formation, Mount Street Jesuit Centre aim to provide a programme of events for young adults (men and women aged 18-35) as they continue to develop on their faith journey. With Masses, socials, pilgrimages, or faith formation opportunities they like to encourage young adults in what can be a very busy world to come together in a community, take time to reflect through attending retreats, or one day sessions or ongoing courses that feed the soul. For more info, check out their website.
8. Catholic Underground
Delving into the universal prayer of the church, giving time for prayer and socialising, Catholic Underground is a bi-monthly event at the Centre for Youth Ministry, led by the charismatic and joyful Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The first part of the evening is Eucharistic adoration, and begins with Vespers (Evening Prayer). After Vespers, there is a time of simple praise. This provides a window for each person to personally encounter Jesus Christ. The beauty of the darkened church, illuminated by candles helps us enter the mystery of our Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. The holy hour ends with solemn Benediction. Afterwards, people can socialise downstairs in the hall.
9. SPEC Retreat Centre
A fantastic opportunity for those wanting a fully supported gap year where you make a huge difference to many people’s lives! SPEC is the residential retreat centre for children and young people in the Diocese of Westminster and is an integral part of our mission. Every year a group of young adults joins the community for a year or two and runs retreats that help introduce and build young people’s relationships with Christ. The centre spends a long time developing the community and those who spend a year there soon become friends for life. Food and accommodation is provided and the formation given makes you adept as a missionary both at SPEC and back in your parish after you leave. The communal prayer life is of great support and joy and means that is not just the young people who come much closer to God during their time at SPEC. Lastly, even when you’ve left SPEC you are always welcome back and become part of a much greater family support structure. For more info, check out our SPEC website.
10. Start your own group
The awesome thing about pretty much all these groups, and the plethora of others, is that most were started by young adults themselves. Groups which start as just a small group of three young adults from one parish can blossom into huge groups, as often the passion you want to share is far more popular than you first would think. Here at Westminster Youth Ministry, developing the parish youth life is our primary mission. If you would like to start something yourself we’d be more than happy to help you develop, support and grow any group idea that you have, so that yet another life-giving and vibrant group can support our growing young Catholic population! Contact us at email@example.com for more information on how we can help you.