On Friday 11 December, St Aloysius church was the venue for the Diocesan Youth Mass 2015; this was the first such occasion for a number of years. The evening event was a result of months of planning and involved lots of contributors. How things panned out during the Mass and afterwards in the Centre for Youth Ministry was a reflection of everyone’s hard work.
It was remarkable how things came together when the initial thinking started in a very modest way!
About twelve months ago, as a part of the Youth Training Programme, the youth ministry team ran a Music Ministry day. It was led by the acclaimed musician Edwin Fawcett and we saw lots of young people descend on the Centre for Youth Ministry to immerse themselves in their musical passions. The day itself was well received and was a triumph.
As a part of the planning for the Music Ministry day we contemplated a Music Scholarship for some of those attending, albeit we had no notion about what a likely scholar would look like!
Nonetheless, it seemed like a lovely way to support young musicians who live out their faith through their music. In the event, we developed an application process, advertised the scholarship and we were overwhelmed with a lot of very well thought-out applications.
It was very difficult to decide on who to offer a scholarship to, given the quality of the applications, but save it to say that ten or so young people were invited to join the programme. The programme was no easy street – the scholars had to commit to twelve months of travel to the Centre for Youth Ministry for their sessions with Edwin. They all committed and achieved this goal!
During the scholarship evenings we thought about how to showcase the burgeoning talents and a Mass was contemplated. We pencilled a date (11 December) and left the structure for a later date, little notion of the relevance of the date.
Of course, the Holy Father announced in the Spring of 2015 that the Jubilee Year of Mercy would start on 8 December, and as is said by many, the rest is history.
Very quickly we realised that we had the opportunity here to celebrate our scholars’ success, build on the growing youth community across our parishes with an energetic Youth Mass, and, most importantly, theme our evening around the very important Jubilee Year.
All of a sudden, a small celebratory gathering had some significant impetus and focus!
The Youth Mass was simply awesome – with over 200 young people in attendance. We were led at Mass by Bishop Nicholas, with a packed Sanctuary.
Of course, the music was stunning and we owe this all to Edwin and his magnificent scholars.
As Mass closed, the scholars received their Certificates of Achievement from Bishop Nicholas. They were: Charles Ballentine, Jennifer Ballentine, Julia Baran, Lara Ingham, Danica Marcos, Chisom Odoemene, Arianne Phagoo and Isobel Wright. They should be proud of their achievements – we are proud of them!
After Mass everyone crammed into the Parish Hall for some refreshments and we were blessed to see so many smiling faces gathered spending some social time together.
What a night!