Being a Catholic has always been something that is a part of me. I was brought up in a Catholic family – but in the past few years it has become something that is truly a part of my whole self. I was brought up going to Mass with my family at St. Thomas More in Lancaster, and it was a great part of my childhood. But as I grew up, as I’m sure a lot of others did, I began to grow distant from my faith. It was a pilgrimage to Lourdes at the age of 17 that ignited the spark for faith once more in my life. It was an incredible experience, and one that would start a huge change in my life. I went through the next few years with highs and lows of my faith journey. I found myself having moments of extreme highs, like being able to attend World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008, to extreme lows, like some of my times at university, where I felt lower and lonelier than I ever had before. It was a trip to Rome that was to
change everything. Whilst there in 2009, I met members of the team at Castlerigg Manor. They told me about the work they did, and it sounded amazing. Before I knew it, I was there for a weekend having an interview. And from then I have spent the past 2 years working on the team there, which has been the most inspiring and uplifting 2 years of my life. There I have truly learnt what faith means to me – that it isn’t just something for a Sunday, or when you feel like it. It has an effect on every part of my life now, and I couldn’t be more thankful to God for never giving up on me, and for bringing me to somewhere where I can have such a true,
raw and loving experience of faith. So what next? I could have never have pictured myself doing youth work, or any kind of work for the Church. But from August 16th, I will be heading to Minnesota in the USA to work for an organisation called NET ministries. Their focus is on a ‘New Evangelisation’ – reaching young people in schools, parishes and youth clubs. I feel this next step is going to form my faith in an ever greater sense, spending day to day meeting young people and preaching the Gospel. I will spend 9 months travelling the USA, going from place to place, and living with different host families along the way. What could be a greater
adventure? And for me this is what faith has helped me to understand about life. That it is an adventure, that it is to be enjoyed, and that we must live each day for God and His mission for us. This is what will make us truly happy. As it says in John, let us “Live life to the full”.