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Hi I’m Rachel - I have just finished my Sport degree in Leeds so have moved back home to Kirkham and my Parish of the Holy Cross. In my family we have two great Lancaster Diocese Priests (Fr Michael Murphy and the late Fr Bernard Hearty) as relatives so growing up around priest friends has been unusually normal to me and my family. I have spent many occasions socialising with priests of the Diocese and being heavily involved in Church life.  Although this seemed normal for me – I’m aware that for others it’s far from normal! For me, the only way to follow my faith fully was to embrace in the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation. Additionally, having gone to a Catholic Primary School, High School and Sixth Form College my faith was always around me. It wasn’t until University I had to fend for myself (both faith and food wise!)

At University I was thrown into the big wild world with many paths to choose from, though I have stayed on the straight and narrow because of my faith. It is highly important for me to acknowledge that my Catholic friends and Priests that have supported me, have played a part in this. They continually help me choose the right path. Many of these friends I met at the youthful age of 16 from numerous Castlerigg retreats and Diocese Pilgrimages near and far. I have met people from Barrow, Fleetwood, Preston, Whitehaven, Lancaster and Workington and we have all been brought together through our faith. 

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I understand that we are all at different places on our faith journey and it is vital to have the right support network behind us, whether that be family or friends. It is important to maintain our faith and take forward steps. This for me is done through retreats, whether that be Lancaster Youth Service or Youth 2000 ones across the country, where I have the opportunity to meet other young Catholics today and remember we are all on a journey.

Now I am back at home ready to embark on further education or a graduate job – I still am heavily reliant upon my faith friends through prayer, chat and meet ups which I can only thank the Lancaster Youth Service for!