Since jumping back into action at the start of September it feels like our feet haven't really touched the ground, in particular since the start of 2018.
We have been up and down the Diocese visiting various parishes for youth masses, confirmation classes and First Holy Communion sessions, and going into schools for assemblies and RE Classes.
Ciaran, who joined the Ignite Team for a gap year, visited Jamaica on a mission trip with the Missionaries of the Poor in January; his feet briefly touched the ground before we, as a team, took advantage of a brief break over the February half-term to make a trip to Rome.
Since coming back, it has been a flurry of time in parishes and schools, predominantly exploring the theme of Reconciliation in the context of Lent.Our aim in our work is to teach the young people we meet that they are created and loved by God, a God who wants to have this close friendship with them.
Through times of prayer and reflection our hope is that an opportunity, a space, for an encounter with God is made, and doing this around the time of Lent is particularly poignant as it is a time particularly for remembering the sacrifice God made for us to share in this relationship.
Lent is this time of preparation for Easter, but also, as I've been pondering it more, in a way it is a preparation for life.In primary schools at the moment, we teach the children a song called "Be Ready,' with the main message of the song being, of course, readiness to receive Christ, which translates well into the opportunity Lent provides, but also how we should be living out our lives day-to-day.
Lent is that chance to stand back and re-evaluate our lives: where we are going, what choices we are making and to seriously ask ourselves the questions, am I following Christ in my day-to-day life? Am I truly living out my faith? The call to holiness which we, as Catholics, should be striving for? It is this time of close examination of ourselves, and our relationship with Jesus.
We talk in schools about the "three pillars of Lent' which are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three things we should do anyway, but particularly make an extra effort in throughout Lent. Our Lenten observances should be born out of love. Love for God and for those around us. It is a beautiful time to reconcile ourselves to God, especially through the Sacrament of Confession, a moment of intimate encounter with the mercy and love of God our Father, a chance to acknowledge his faithfulness the fact that we haven't always been so.
We are now in the final week of this time of preparation for Easter. We may feel like our Lent has gone fairly well, that we've managed to stick to those resolutions we made in the areas of prayer, fasting and almsgiving but some of us may feel that we haven't! So in this final time before Easter, let us strive all the more to be reconciled to God and to one another and remember that, "nothing can separate us from the love of God."
Pictured above are the Ignite Team in action in Cambourne recently.