History was made on Saturday, 7 March, when more than 8,000 young people gathered at Wembley Arena for Flame 2, one of the largest-ever Catholic youth events to be held in this country. Organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed), two BBC presenters introduced the an inspiring line-up of speakers and performers: Cardinal Luis Tagle from the Philippines who spoke to the crowd of the extravagant mercy of God, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, Baroness Hollins who spoke on mental health and young people, with music throughout from the double Grammy winner, Matt Redman. A joy-filled day concluded with the quiet joy of adoration. Fr Radcliffe explained, ‘Adoration is a bit like sunbathing but more than that. The monstrance looks like the sun. You feel the warmth of God's love. We say “Let your face shine on us". God knows all the worst things that you have done and He still delights in us. You are His. And He is yours’.

Amongst the crowd was the Lancaster contingent who made a weekend of the event, staying in London to enjoy some sightseeing, as well as participating in the event. Howard, from Lancaster, described the experience as nothing less than a ‘re-vitalisation of faith’. He added, ‘I believe that young people face many tests of their faith, and there are even social pressures surrounding faith, so something like Flame is a gift to young people; a place where they can go to be told “you are not alone”. I felt so alive at Flame. I had a genuine feeling that God was with me. I felt safe, and in any next steps I take in my life, I know God will be with me’. Rutendo, also from Lancaster, wrote, ‘My trip to Flame 2 was an unforgettable experience. Not only were the London sites beautiful but I was able to enjoy the trip with my new-found friends from the event. My highlight of the trip was singing to the Matt Redman's songs in the Wembley Arena; they were really upbuilding and brought joy to the crowds.  From this religious experience, I learnt that it's never too late to contribute to the Church, and so I have now decided to help those in need around me and around the world. I also discovered that many young people are part of the Christian community, and so I would not hesitate in to go to such an event again. It was a truly enlightening experience’.

The sun shone brightly through the weekend and we made the most of our London trip: some watched Les Miserables at the theatre whilst others enjoyed a night tour of the city, taking in Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and the South Bank. On the second night, we had a birds-eye view of the city from the top of the London Eye. Our final day included Mass at Westminster Cathedral and lunch at Covent Gardens. 

Westminster Cathedral in London

Westminster Cathedral in London