“When we hear about World Youth Day, we might think of hundreds of thousands of young people travelling abroad,” explained Hamish MacQueen, Director of the Diocesan Youth Service. “Pope Francis has asked that as well as these International events ‘World Youth Day’ is to be celebrated locally by each diocese on the Feast of Christ the King.”
The Diocesan Youth Service rose to the challenge by running an event in St John’s Cathedral Narthex. Some 85 young people from across the Diocese enjoyed a packed programme which included Mass, worship sessions, prayer, comedy, a varied series of talks and an African-style gig. The Ignite Lite team provided catering and there were plenty of spaces for young people to relax and mix.
Hamish kept the day moving to timetable and oversaw sound and lighting, while Ignite leader Ciaran Losasso played master of ceremonies and managed the transitions.
Tony Vino, a comedian from Preston, opened the events on a light note. He has been entertaining audiences across the country for 17 years after switching from a career as a solicitor.
After lunch, Matt Dean, an experienced worship leader, took the microphone and, alongside well-known songs, introduced some of his own. For young people who wanted to listen again there was a free album of his music to take away at the end.
Sr Rose Rolling OP then spoke on conversion and continuity which, after a break, led into adoration and then a Mass celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes. Afterwards the Bishop gave the group an opportunity for a question-and-answer session.
After more worship, Joe Savage, an CAFOD intern, gave a presentation about his experience of COP26, with much technical information about offshore energy, coal-fired power stations and climate compensation schemes.
This led into the concluding talk from Fr Luke Goymour, who shared something of his own story of conversion through nearly becoming a professional golfer, wondering if he’d made a mistake becoming a priest and then rediscovering what was for him the most fulfilling vocation in the world.
He closed on a quotation from St John Paul II: “If we let Christ into our hearts, we lose nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great… Do not be afraid of Christ. He takes nothing away and He gives everything.”
The day closed with a lively gig from Fr Alvan Ibeh with his singing group and band, who brought a range of African music and movement, with plenty of audience participation.
Pictured above is a scene from this year’s World Youth Day celebration in Norwich. You can see a Flickr gallery of the event by clicking on picture below.