When the cancellations started to roll in, I started to panic. The Ignite Team was suddenly useless with schools and parishes closed. Obviously no one wanted retreats. So what was I going to do with my time?
More importantly, how could I continue to fulfil my purpose of bringing youth closer to God? What could I do that would make any sort of difference? It felt like God was hitting reset and I ended up crying on the sofa quite a bit.
And God did reset, bringing our evangelisation work back to the basics – prayer. Our life on the Ignite Team now almost seems like that of a monastic order, with set times for praying the Liturgy of the Hours, streaming daily Mass and adoration, and extra devotions we never had time for otherwise.
It’s a potent reminder that it’s a futile effort to bring people to God if we don’t know Him ourselves. Plus prayer brings God’s grace into the world at a time when we sorely need it.
And we haven’t abandoned the youth of East Anglia completely, of course. In our temporary identity as prayer warriors, we continue to pray for parishes and schools around the diocese.
Whenever we have a booking or event cancelled, we pray a rosary or similar devotion for the youth we would have met, as well as their teachers, catechists, and families.
When we did this for the first time, I could feel my panic subside as I thumbed each rosary bead. My fear was replaced by accomplishment by the end.
I settled into the sofa. “Now I feel like I’ve done something for them.”
Ciaran smiled. “You have.”
You can read more about Emily Murphy here: https://www.rcdea.org.uk/youth-ministry-brings-emily-from-the-usa-to-east-anglia/
If you’d like to help the youth of the diocese with your own rosary beads, join with the Ignite Team in praying for these youth on the upcoming days listed below.
25 April – Confirmation Group – St. Mary’s Parish, Thetford
27 April – First Holy Communion Group – Sacred Heart and St. Oswald’s Parish, Peterborough
29 April – Confirmation Group – Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Lowestoft
And don’t forget to pray for the groups we’ve already missed:
Years 4, 5, and 6 – St. Mary and St. Peter’s Primary School, Gorleston
Notre Dame Prep School, Norwich
Confirmation Groups – All parishes in Cambridge
Confirmation Group – Clare Priory, Clare
Reception & Nursery Students – St. Augustine’s Primary School, Norwich
St. Joseph’s Primary School, Sudbury
Chocolate Church Group – St. Edmund’s Parish, Bury St. Edmund’s
Confirmation Group & Young Adults – Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Lowestoft
Pictured above is Emily Murphy from the Ignite Team