Hi, my name is Holly and I’m 16 from Barrow. Back in March I came to Castlerigg with my school and the experience changed everything. At that time I wasn’t even baptized and I hadn’t been brought up with any faith. But, for the first time, I opened up to what faith means and how it helps us. I went home after the retreat and talked to my mum. She thought all this religious stuff was just a phase, but something in me really wanted to be baptized. I went by myself to the church to see the priest. It was scary but it felt good to be able to do something all by myself. And for every Thursday for an hour over an eight month period, I did sessions with two catechists from the parish. It was quite hard as I had to give up going to Boxing on those nights and I found it hard to digest all the things I was learning as it was all so new and in depth. But when I finally came to the big day, I was so nervous. One of my best friends, Michael, was one of my sponsors, and also Liz, one of the catechists. The moment I was baptized was overwhelming; I had the biggest smile on my face. My faith means a lot to me. I am very proud of it, even when my family and some friends make jokes about it. Faith has given me strength to deal with difficult situations and to help me to understand things like my Dad’s death. I feel I have been given a new courage and these first few weeks as a Catholic have been exhilarating. I’d like to thank Fr Manny and everyone who has helped me at Sacred Heart parish on my journey.