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Faith comes alive with pledge globe and refugee gifts

The Alive in Faith programme has continued apace at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich with a pledge globe, gifts for refugees, community gardening, a youth camp and a white rabbit. Jo Graham reports.

Throughout October, the focus has been on the abundant blessings that God pours out on His creation and how we respond to His love. We started with the CAFOD group working to bring the social teachings of the Church alive through the CAFOD Live Simply campaign, working with the young people of the parish.

In 2015 Pope Francis wrote a letter to us all asking us to look after the earth – our common home. The message of “Laudato Si” embodied in CAFOD’s Live Simply campaign became the focal point of Alive in Faith programme at the Cathedral last October. The First Holy Communion and Confirmation candidates were inspired by the CAFOD animated videos of Laudato Si and put together a globe of pledges to take action to look after the planet and to show solidarity and friendship to all.

The pledge globe was offered up at a family mass on October 16. The whole parish was galvanised into action to support our brothers and sisters who come to Norwich as refugees and donations of toiletries and cleaning products were collected at all the masses that weekend and packed by the Confirmation candidates and youth groups into “welcome rucksacks”.

On October 24, 12 members of the youth group took on the community gardening challenge by donning their gardening gloves and planting over 300 spring bulbs at the cathedral. It is hoped that the bulbs will emerge in spring and bring joy to all visitors at the cathedral – reminding us all of the promise of new life that accompanies spring.

bucktontowersgroup600The Cathedral youth group embarked on a five-day retreat at Buckden Towers during October half-term. The theme of the retreat was from John 10:10 ” I come so that they may have life and have it in abundance”. We had talks on God’s love, the history of Salvation and the dignity of the human person. In addition to daily mass, talks and evening prayer, the group enjoyed a range of focused “sense” activities like; a silent meal, guided blindfold walks, visiting the famous herb knot garden at Buckden, making Matzoh bread for a Seder meal and putting together a mosaic that reflected theme. The creation mosaic will be on display at the Cathedral on November 27 for the launch of the Live Simply campaign.

In between times, we played football, roasted marshmallows on a camp fire, had some wicked manhunt sessions and learnt some cool Pentatonix songs. A great time was had by all thanks to the team at Buckden who did a marvellous job looking after us and feeding us each day.

Special thanks to Cat Williams from Ignite and Chris Storman who came along help run the camp.

The Alive in Faith programme continues in November with the White Rabbit play on November 19 at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at the cathedral shop and details are available on the cathedral website athttp://www.sjbcathedral.org.uk/events/category/cathedral-events/.

In December the parish is gearing up to welcome the Posada which will travel from home to home during advent, visiting our homes and schools. We are hoping to have two Posada statues moving through the parish and giving our families the opportunity to share the Christmas message of peace and hope with our friends and neighbours – preparing the way for the Lord.

Pictured top are young people with the Pledge Globe at the Cathedral and, above, participants at the Buckden Towers youth retreat.