Night prayer on the feast of Candlemas

Night prayer on the feast of Candlemas

Adoring the Lord, Corpus Christi procession

Adoring the Lord, Corpus Christi procession

Over the past year young parishioners from around West Cumbria met at Castlerigg the first Sunday of each month. Everyone follows everyone these days on Twitter and Facebook, so we called our group, Follow, and the group’s aim was to help young people to follow Christ. In short the youth group which lasted a year was designed as a discipleship programme. The format was simple: everyone gathered for a meal at 6pm. At 7pm we would have some praise and worship, and then a talk on a particular aspect of discipleship: what it means to be a disciple, resisting the Devil’s tactics and the art of spiritual warfare, what our faith has to say about love and relationships, how our faith can shape the way we use our recreation, dealing with emotional issues – all very practical matters on how to live out our faith and be a witness. After the talk, the group would break up into smaller groups for some sharing time, and then we would go to the chapel for night prayer, sometimes a little bit of adoration, or a meditation. It was a simple format, but one that seemed to work. Month after month a group of about 12 to 15 young people appeared from as far afield as Penrith, Workington and Whitehaven, and the friendships that developed helped to break the isolation that many young people feel in their parishes where there are often few other young people.  Jenny, 17, from Cockermouth, writes that ‘in addition to the delicious food, each week has been such a great way to step back from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and just think about my life and my relationship with God. I've really enjoyed Follow, especially being able to meet other young Catholics (something alarmingly rare!) and I enjoyed addressing issues that actually impact upon us directly or matters within the faith that the Sunday readings don't usually address. The session on acknowledging and fighting the devil was a talk I will always remember - I wish I had had the talk earlier!’ Ellie added, ‘It’s been a great mix: fun, games, food, faith, friends, peace, interest, life advice, learning, people, young people of my faith who don’t live 200 miles away’. Owen, 13, added, ‘It’s been great to enjoy the garden at Castlerigg and being in a new place as it is more special to be out and fresh than at home’, and another young person added, ‘I’ve learnt to believe in things even when it seems hard to and I feel it’s hard to carry on. It’s great to talk to people who believe in the same thing as you and I love the whole ‘family’ feel about Castlerigg’.