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A life-changing year for Jess with Ignite team

As applications for the Ignite youth team for 2020-21 open, Jess McCall, who was on the Ignite Team last year, writes about her experiences.


I vaguely knew what to expect. I had been a part of the Ignite Lite Team (part-time volunteers) for some time and had been to help at several events. What I couldn’t have predicted was how much joining the team would change my life.

I joined only really knowing the basics of my faith and being in the team for the year allowed me to really grow in my knowledge and my faith, really deepening my understanding of what it means to be a Catholic. I also grew as a person. My confidence at speaking in front of people massively improved as well as an understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses. There was always the opportunity to work on those weaknesses with support from the people around us and to really take advantage of our strengths.

Being a part of the team meant that I had the opportunity to be a part of some of the larger events that we do like the Ignite Festival but also the smaller things as well. I loved being able to go and see so many churches and schools and talk to so many young people about their faith. It was so amazing to see so many young people engaged in the work that we were doing.

Jess McCall taking part in World Youth Day in Panama as part of her Ignite year.

The opportunity to live in Walsingham for a year was amazing. The quietness of Walsingham was so different to what I was used to, yet it was a great place to think, reflect and pray. Walsingham will always have a special place in my heart and I have to attribute that to being surrounded by its beauty for so long and by so many people who really live out the message of Walsingham in their lives.

Living in community meant that there was a constant support network throughout the year and that there was always someone ready to answer a question about things I didn’t understand. There was always someone to talk to about anything.

When I joined the Ignite Team I had no idea what I was going to do when the year was over. I had continuously been changing my mind about what my career would be. I had considered a multitude of different things and none of them quite felt right. Through joining the team, working with young people and building on my relationship with God I realised that I should train to be a teacher.

I loved the time that I spent on the Ignite Team and I would definitely recommend joining the team to everyone even considering it. It’s a year well spent.


Why not join the Ignite team

We’re looking for people to join next year’s Ignite team!
So if you are:
• Age 18 (by September) – 29
• in between jobs or stages of education
• leaving school or university this summer but not sure what to do next year.
• unsettled in what you are doing.
• wanting to do something ‘different’
• thinking about priesthood or religious life
Then why not consider joining?
You would be working with young people in schools and parishes, developing your gifts such as in music, drama, art and tech. These are full-time positions, initially from September 2020 – July 2021. Food, accommodation and a monthly allowance are provided. Ideal as a ‘gap year’.

For more information see: www.rcdea.org.uk/youth/igniteteam

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