Flame 2019 was a fascinating experience. With a theme of “Significance”, the message was conveyed throughout the day that we are all uniquely created and have a gift to offer to the world – YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT.
The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation of England and Wales (CYMFED) organised the event and Fr Dermott, from Hexham & Newcastle, chaired it. I knew several people from this diocese and re-united with them on this great occasion. There were many dioceses across the country who attended.
There was a mixture of concert-style music, addresses and theatre – all of which contributed to an electrifying buzz around Wembley Arena, as thousands of Catholics from all over the UK travelled hours to be present at Flame. For many young people, it was their first Flame and it was great to see so many parish groups taking the time to be in God’s presence here.
A number of speakers took to the stage in the morning sessions and shared their diverse faith stories. Christian rapper Guvna B spoke about his life and the decision to rap about his faith – he was originally brought up in Hackney, East London. His wife, Emma Borquaye, spoke about her faith journey and launching the social media App ‘Girl Got Faith’, which enables girls to share their faith.
It was wonderful to hear such powerful and inspiring words from Jean Vanier, in a pre-recorded video message on Significance. He spoke about his decision to quit engineering, to pursue a life of following Jesus. In his life, Jean had welcomed vulnerable and disabled people and made a home for them – it was a very inspiring and touching story. The message goes out to young people to make a difference in the world.
Music-wise, a number of great worship songs were played during the day. Many young people waved their phone torches around Wembley Arena and it was honestly a joyful and happy atmosphere. Guvna B was the main headline act and there was also a worship band, featuring Tim Hughes, and a Gospel choir.
RISE theatre gave two performances – one in the morning and another in the afternoon – acting out the theme of Significance in imaginative and creative ways.
We had a lunch break, and there were stalls where you could meet different people and find out more information and take photos to go on Instagram pages. Plenty of opportunities to connect with people. It was wonderful to be able to meet different people and be part of a growing and thriving network of young people.
In the afternoon, Robert Madu made a very engaging and comical speech. He mentioned that comparison is the thief of joy – it will destroy your destiny and will consistently cloud the clarity of your life. He also requested we say to ourselves “I am a masterpiece” and truly mean it – its origin coming from the Word of God.
He confessed that he had come here to say two simple things: “Stay in your lane… and keep your eyes on Jesus” – this was backed up by using an example of being on the motorway and changing lane!
Another speaker uttered the phrase, “See it, pray it, sort it!” – an alternative from the announcement on trains “See it, say it, sorted!” This is certainly a good way of thinking about reconnecting with your faith.
It is very important that we do not lose our faith, listen to bad voices or wish we had what others have. The likes of social media, society and comparison were emphasised throughout the day.
Archbishop Eamon Martin and Cardinal Vincent Nichols also made appearances – the latter leading the silent time of Adoration towards the end, and gave a delightful homily.
Overall, it was a spectacular Flame with a resonating theme. Several bible quotes were cited throughout the course of the day (such as John 12:35-37; John 12:42-46; John 10:10; and 2 Corinthians). These re-echoed that life is worth living and that the light will always overcome the darkness. The Flame theme #SIGNIFICANCE resonated with these passages, imparting that we all have a story to tell and are important. I feel that many young people heard the message and will be inspired by these stories to go out and share to the world.