Being a Catholic has always been part of my life, and I have been brought up in a wonderful Catholic family. Every Sunday we would go to church, and I enjoyed going to Children's Liturgy with my friends. Although a friendly parish, it was centred around the older generations, and there was nothing to encourage young people to attend Mass. Growing up, and looking around the church, there were very few families with teenage children and less and less of my friends turned up. My parents and other families with “teenagers” in the parish continued to inspire me with their vision of faith being something you can live out in your everyday life. They constantly showed me this, through working hard to get younger members of the parish involved in the church community. I got involved in the music group, and Children's Liturgy became something for the whole spectrum of youth in the church to be involved in. They made a youth group, showing me living out my faith through raising money for charities, with other young people can also be fun!! This strengthened my faith giving it relevance to my life, encouraging me to make the choice to continue going to church, even though many of my friends didn’t. Going to Castlerigg with school, gave me a different exeperience of church, where the whole of mass is a celebration, not just a routine where the meaning can be lost. Coming back from there into my own parish, I became aware that the way the service was presented meant people appeared to be going through the motions of going to church and I felt frustrated that little was done to make the Mass speak to people. Getting involved in the Youth Service helped me find something that was missing in my church. Through it I have met lots of amazing friends, and there is an amazing spirit when we’re together, due to us all having our faith in common. Summit walks, and Prayer & Praise helped me praise God in a setting that is comfortable and relaxed. Going to Lourdes last summer, was an overwhelming experience for me. Seeing the faith the sick had, as they visited the grotto and touched the walls was inspiring, and the gratitude they had towards the youth for enabling them to make the pilgrimage was enriching. Even though it was hard work and exhausting, being with the 100 strong youth helpers meant it was a week full of laughter & fun. My parish has been amazing in making it possible for me and other young people by constantly supporting the fundraisers we have with enthusiasm and generosity. Now going to church, I find a growing sense of community. Meeting in the ‘Caton Room’ after mass for a cup of tea and biscuit is a
chance to bring all memebers of the parish together, and is fantastic. I can see that as our parish develops, and the sense of community strengthens, so does my faith.