Viewing entries tagged
Catholic Youth Community

Andy, 21, Castlerigg

Andy, 21, Castlerigg

I’m Andy, I am 21 years old and I’m originally from Hartlepool. This is my 3rd year volunteering in Youth Ministry...

Alice, 16, Barrow

Alice, 16, Barrow

My faith has always been a part of my life. I've been brought up in a Catholic family. I've been baptised, confirmed and made my Holy Communion. I've attended a Catholic primary and secondary school and I've always gone to Church. I always enjoyed and appreciated my faith without truly understanding it...

Louise, 18, Grimsargh

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.

Rachel, 14 & Josie, 16, Fleetwood

Rachel writes: I never really appreciated my faith. I was born into a Catholic family, so going to the Neo-Catechumenal Way and church was pretty much the norm. In times of trouble I knew I could always turn to God for help. My beliefs were never something to hide. But when other people such as friends or acquaintances found out that I was a Catholic there would be mixed reactions. Some would be cool with it, but others would say things such as, “So, you go to Church every Sunday?” with a puzzled expression on their faces. I would go a deep shade of red, mumble a “yes” and shuffle away. Someone even refers to me as their ‘Catholic’ friend! (I guess I should take that as a complement!) But when someone looks at you like you’re an alien just because you believe in something they don’t, it kind of hurts. I soon discovered that day after day, week after week I was becoming ashamed of my faith. But in 2012 that all changed. I went to an event called “Flame” which brought young members of the Church together to listen to inspirational people in Wembley Arena. As I stepped into the arena I saw over 10,000 young people smiling and enjoying themselves. I just felt so happy! I wasn’t alone; I’m part of something huge! I learnt so much that day and I’m truly grateful to every single one of those 10,000 people for showing me that I’m part of a beautiful community. I discovered that sometimes I just have to push everything into God’s hands and take a leap!

Josie writes: Being a young Catholic today is quite hard. I believe, as a Catholic, I should love my neighbour and practise the faith but there are many distractions and temptations in the modern day. I have always gone to Catholic schools. Even though the schools were faithbased, some of the children were not practising and had little knowledge of the faith; this made it difficult to be a witness. Name calling terms, such as ‘Bible Bashers’, are still used today; this also affected my confidence in evangelising. However, I have a personal connection to God and I can call on Him in prayer and He will respond, sometimes in a way I didn’t expect. Moreover, there are Catholic youth events such as Flame and retreats like Castlerigg which renew my faith and give me the opportunity to express and share my faith and be amongst other young Catholics. Being a young Catholic today is quite hard but, with God’s help, I can live my life knowing that He will help and guide me.

Howard, 17, Lancaster

‘Being a young Catholic today’. The first thing to remember about such a statement is that, in terms of faith, age really is just a number. Whether you’re 8 or 80, your faith is equally important. However, the truth about youth is that we do have it differently in society. I have only a small group of friends that live close by who are Catholics, which means that my social interactions with people of faith are limited. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the specified gatherings for young Catholics such as Castlerigg retreats, pilgrimages to Lourdes, among other activities, provide young Catholics like myself with the opportunity to realise that I am not alone. We all have different lives: different hometowns, accents, career paths, futures, all heading in multiple directions. But God is what has bound us all together. I believe fully that my time surrounded by other young Catholics has helped me to develop my confidence in proclaiming my faith, as well as strengthening my relationship with God. Realising that I am not the only young
Catholic out there has given me the amazing gift of freedom.

Aoife, 18, Preston

I won’t be the first person to say that being a young Catholic today can be really hard, you can find yourself living two separate lives. You have a home life where you can go to mass and talk about your faith, and there is another life at school or college where society can be so different from what you believe that you don’t really want to stand out. In your “other” life you can feel like you’re completely on your own but you don’t have to be. The best part of being a young Catholic is that you’re not alone; there are so many other people your age who share the same excitement for their faith as you do. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to Youth 2000 in Walsingham this year where for the first time I realised that my faith is the most exciting adventure I can imagine and there are so many people around me who I can share it with. Most people who know me know that I wouldn’t be the first person to introduce myself in a group or to share my thoughts with other people but when you are surrounded by people who are overflowing with energy and love for God it’s impossible not to join in. Basically what I’m trying to say is don’t be a young Catholic by yourself because it is too easy for you faith to be smothered by the things that are going on around you. Find a friend to go to mass with at college or someone you can talk to on the bus about your struggles. Get involved as much as you can because then instead of having two separate lives you can have one amazing life in Christ.