I’ll pick you up when you’re down, be there when no one’s around. When you’re in unfamiliar places, count on me through life’s changes.” Leona Lewis, Collide

Being a young Catholic can sometimes be tough. I have always been firm in my faith, but a few years ago I realised that I was living separate lives; my life as Mary the music student, and a different life as Mary the Catholic. I had assumed that if I went to church each weekend and I said my prayers every day, that God was firmly planted in my life.

The Catholic Society was one of my favourite parts of going to university. It was there that I learned how to fully weave my relationship with God into all areas of my life. Once a semester they held a Pop Music Mass. The mass functioned as normal, but instead of hymns we sang pop songs; real pop songs, not religious pop or modified versions. We sang Leona Lewis, One Direction, Union J, Adele, James Bay, Taylor Swift, Jess Glynn, George Ezra and so many others. The purpose was not only to inject enthusiasm into the students, but to help us to see that our worship is not limited to the traditional methods. In so many pop songs we are enabled to talk with God, to give thanks, pray for help, and develop our sense of self-worth. The Leona Lewis quotation that I opened with was, presumably, not initially written or performed with the intention for it to be used in a form of religious worship, but to look over it now, with my‘where’s God?’ head on, it seems to fit so well into the context that I was looking for. This concept, finding God in the less obvious, can be taken and used repeatedly in a wealth of situations.

With this understanding, I would argue that I am no longer living separate lives, and that Mary the Catholic is not just an aspect of who I am, but is a constant part of me that doesn’t stop the moment I leave church. I am now able to see God everywhere: in my car as I drive, in shops, in the dentist’s waiting room, in night clubs, at work, at parties, in films, in books, in my family and friends, even those who don’t believe that they are religious.

I’ll leave you with one last pop song quotation, taken from a song of thanks for ever lasting support:

“I see the shadows long beneath the mountain top, I’m not afraid when the rain won’t stop, ‘cause you light the way” Jessie J, Flashlight

Mary, 21, Preston