Made for a Purpose – The Invocation Festival

By Nichola, 22, Blackpool

Not entirely sure what I’m going to do with my life, I decided to attend Invocation, which is a national discernment festival to help young Catholics like myself discern their role in the Church. The festival took place over a weekend at St Mary’s Seminary at Oscott College. The weekend took the form of various talks, workshops and prayer times delivered by priests, religious and lay people, geared at helping young discerners to listen to God’s voice and to discover His will for them. The talks offered advice and food for thought centred on discipleship and how we respond to our personal encounter with Jesus Christ. There was also a good balance of free time,with the opportunity to reflect and talk to the speakers and many religious who attended.  On the last night we had a Reconciliation Service with adoration inside the beautiful chapel. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more atmospheric, we were told that confession was available outside, with 20 or more priests scattered about the grounds. Receiving the tender and gentle mercy of Jesus with the backdrop of a hazy pink sunset is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had, and one I will never forget. Following on from this was the torchlight procession, something I’ve never experienced before, processing with the Blessed Sacrament through the grounds of Oscott illuminated by candlelight. The weekend was drawn to a close with Sunday Mass, celebrated by our very own Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who gave a very inspiring homily talking about his own vocation but also how Jesus calls us according to what fits us best – His yoke is easy! As a precept to the weekend, we were given these words from St Catherine of Siena, ‘If you are who you were meant to be, you were set the world on fire.’ This reminded us that each and every single one of us were made for a purpose, with a specific part to fulfil in God’s plan, even if we don’t know what that is yet. How exciting is that?! I think there are some who thought I might return from Invocation in a habit… but what I did return with was the desire to love God completely with my whole heart, one day at a time… and in His time He’ll show me the rest!