Sarah Barber remembers the recent CYMFed Youth Congress at Wembley Arena, Britain's largest ever Catholic youth event
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Posted: 3 Apr 2012
On 24th March 2012 8,000 young Catholics gathered at Wembley Arena for the Flame Congress. This joyful and engaging event was organised by CYMFed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation) and was inspired by the Papal Visit in 2010 and the forthcoming London Olympics.
Over 1,000 of the young people were from schools and parishes from across Brentwood Diocese, and every deanery was represented. The Brentwood groups were easy to recognise in the crowd by their BCYS (Brentwood Catholic Youth Service) bright blue bags.
The day opened with a video greeting from Sebastian Coe where he thanked everyone for using the Olympics as an opportunity to come together from across the country. There was then a message read by Bishop Conry from The Holy Father in which he sent his blessing to the young people and encouraged them to let the flame of Faith continue to burn strongly in them, so that they will become convincing witnesses of Jesus Christ.
The young people were addressed by many inspiring speakers including Christian Olympians who spoke of their personal faith and how it had impacted their sporting lives.
One of the most moving and challenging testimonies of the day was given by Paralympic athlete Stef Reid, who despite having her sporting ambitions seemingly ended by an accident that lead to her having part of her leg amputated, rediscovered her dream as a paralympian. She said that she had “never been let down by God”. As young people were leaving the day, much of the talk was about her witness and how in her darkest hour Stef had wondered whether she’d been living the life that God wanted of her. It was fantastic to hear young people talk about what that might mean for them.
Other highlights of the day included the high energy Glee style flashmob lead by David Wells and the Youth Retreat House Teams from across the country. Watching them sing and dance to “I want to see Jesus lifted high” and “Don’t stop believing”, their energy was infectious and soon everyone was on their feet joining in.
At the end of the day, guided by Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, everyone in the arena joined in silent prayer which was followed by a time of Adoration. It seemed a fitting way to end a day of prayer, inspiration, challenge and great joy at sharing with other young Catholics.
For more information about CYMFed – see cymfed.org
For Young People (aged 18+) wanting to be more involved during the Olympics – see www.thejoshuacamp.com
For other Youth events in the Diocese – see www.bcys.net
Diocesan Youth Director
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