Busy times for the Team!

Phil reflects on the busy times ahead for Westminster Youth Ministry!

Thousands of young Catholics from around the country attending Flame 1 back in 2012
Thousands of young Catholics from around the country attending Flame 1 back in 2012

I think we’re blessed right now!

My team seem to be working seven days a week and are being invited to develop and support a growing and truly diverse and interesting range of projects – in fact, there are so many wonderful projects bubbling under just now that it’s hard to discern the wonderful from the absolutely wonderful and the definitely must-do’s!

Westminster’s parish youth communities are springing into life across the diocese in great number and at the moment it’s not unusual for the youth ministry team to be at one parish or another most days of the week and sometimes visiting more than one parish on the same evening. We are grateful for the invites we’re receiving to help develop and support youth groups and young adult groups – this is really the epicentre of our work.

We’re in the middle of preparing for pilgrimages to Lourdes and Taize in 2015 and World Youth Day 2016, working in partnership with the Chemin Neuf Community. And this is not to forget strong support for a very interesting pilgrimage to Turin in June 2015 being developed by our friends at Cymfed.

Our Performing Arts Day is taking shape and we are honoured to be partnering with the Focolare Community in this venture. We are hoping that this wonderful retreat in October 2015 will provide our young people with the encouragement and skills necessary to create interesting projects in their home parishes. More information will follow – a batch of event posters are being sent to parishes – be on the lookout.

The upcoming Saint Don Bosco Bi-Centennial Expo (being held at the Centre for Youth Ministry and St Aloysius parish) will be a powerful reflection of this man’s wonderful life and we’re expecting a very busy day and looking forward to a great talk from Fr Martin Coyle.

It’s not long before we support the Franciscan Friars with their Ignite 2015 Confirmation Retreat Day and soon after that we welcome Rise Theatre with their ‘White Rabbit’ Lenten production; being held in the St Aloysius church.

We’re amidst some interesting developments with Celebrate, Joel’s Bar and the Sion Community and not forgetting some ecumenical planning in Hertfordshire with Churches Together and their Go for Growth event.

Reading all this activity (and trust me, there is a lot more going on that I’ve just not had the room to capture here) has me feeling a tad weary and that reminds me of something my daughter said to me a little while ago when I was reflecting on some weariness. “Dad” she said, “I find that if you’re weary of youth ministry, the best way to overcome the tiredness is just to do some more youth ministry!!”. Pretty inspirational. And, it’s true, walk wearily into a parish chock full of young people and the energy and vibrancy doesn’t give you time to be weary – generally it just picks you up and away you go.

By the way, at the time of reading my monthly reflection, the preparations for Flame 2 at Wembley Arena will be almost complete. If you’re attending the festival you’ll see my team sat with several hundred other red-shirt wearing Westminster attendees amongst upwards of 8,000 other Catholic young people from across England and Wales – it will be wonderful. See you there and don’t forget to say hello!

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