June has been a wonderful month, crammed full of activity and alongside a whole range of good friends of the youth service!
Along with their lovely chaplain, Frances, the WYM team headed for Wintershall on 10 and 12 June to help support the school’s annual Year 9 retreats. Over 90 young people enjoyed the peaceful surroundings, engaged fully in the sessions, including Stations of the Cross and Meditation and took time to take in the breathtaking scenery. The youth ministry team were supported by Ivan from SPEC and two of our longstanding friends Jack and Arianna – they were brilliant.
From 10 to 12 June, we spent two nights at the magnificent Claret Centre in Buckden; the chosen venue of St John’s Primary School, Baldock, for their year 6 residential retreat. Terry and Callum from SPEC, and my daughter Frances, as well as the school’s leadership team, had a fun three days guiding 40 children.
Time spent learning about the rosary and puppeteering kept the young children fully engaged and it was a wonderful opportunity to get away from the normal day-to-day routine and be part of something quite special. The children (and the leaders) had a great time!
Spirit in The City
During June there is the annual Spirit in the City festival and this occasion is always one to treasure. Music, faith and much more is brought together in and around Leicester Square.
We pitched up our tent on 13 June and we spent the day mixing with the large crowds and explaining quite what we do!
SPEC Open Days
Over 19 and 20 June, we extended an open invitation to the schools and parishes of the Diocese and the local Pinner community to drop by to hear about our development plans for the grounds and to be updated on the progress so far.
A smashing couple of days were certainly help by the magnificent weather.
Łódź – 16/ 17 June
Fr David, James and I spent 24 hours in Łódź, Poland, meeting up with Fr Arnaud and Natalia of the Chemin Neuf community. Together, we visited the sites being used for next year’s Days in the Diocese (Mission Week) at the Chemin Neuf Youth Festival.
Days in the Diocese proceeds World Youth Day and is a ideal opportunity to learn more about Polish culture and their faith-life, as well as be a part of the build-up to our time with the Holy Father.
St Helen’s Watford
On 14 June, we visited St Helen’s parish in Watford and met Anne and a group of parishioners who have begun to think about developing something for the young people of their community – beyond the sacramental programmes. The meeting was exceptionally well-attended and a very fruitful discussion took place; lots of hope and determination was in evidence. Looking to get something rolling in the Autumn.
On 17 June, we took time out to meet with a group of parishioners from this lovely parish in Hertfordshire.
Like many parishes just now, they are looking to expand their support for youth in their community and want to build, in particular, a young adults group.
The prospects are pretty good and we’ll be around to continue to guide these very positive developments.
We were pleased to welcome Sara and her CAFOD team to the Centre for Youth Ministry on 18 June. This outstanding organisation manages countless projects across the world and it was great to have them with us for the day.
On 26 June, we spent time during the evening at Edmonton parish – the venue for latest edition of the Enfield Deanery youth event, ‘Youth Alive’.
Six Parishes from across the Deanery came together to celebrate Mass, rekindle friendships and have some fun – a disco and BBQ certainly helped.
A brilliant night and the young people had a ball.
Youth Leaders Network – Retreat 2015
On 27 June, a number of our diocesan youth workers joined us at SPEC for our annual youth workers retreat – an opportunity to step outside the normal busyness of youth working and take time to reflect on the joys and challenges of youth work.
We had a wonderful day and the peaceful surroundings helped immeasurably.
Diocese of Barcelona visit
From 29 June to 3 July, we are being joined by Fr Mark Thelen and his young adult group, over from the Diocese of Barcelona.
We have begun to develop a relationship with Fr Mark and his group following their brief visit to the Centre for Youth Ministry in July 2014.
Phil visited Fr Mark and the Head of Youth Ministry for Barcelona during a recent holiday – I think it’s called a busman’s holiday!
During their visit this time, the group spent Monday morning with the SPEC retreat team, shared lunch and celebrated Mass at Pinner. Today, the group makes their way to Canning Town where they will assist the Franciscan Friars at their soup kitchen. The following two days they will be helping us at Cardinal Wiseman, as we support the school’s year-end retreat for their year 9 student.
Also today, I take the opportunity for a long, leisurely lunch with my wife Ann – today is our celebration of 25 years of marriage.