Saturday, 24 March 2012
The Church grew stronger today
I got up at 3.50am today to go on one of the two diocesan coaches to the Flame Congress at Wembley Arena in London. This festival of Catholicism for young people drew on the three key values of the Olympic Games - respect, friendship and excellence - and cleverly showed how these can only be fully understood in the light of the gospel. Highlights included one of our rowers saying that after fifteen years of training she badly wanted a gold medal but that she wanted God a lot more and former US speed skating Olympiad Sister Catherine of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, whose convent is in Leeds, declaring, with her finger pointing upwards, "All you need is Jesus!" which provoked a sustained chant of "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" This is the kind of fillip that we all need and I'm just glad that my involvement with young people means that I end up being encouraged alongside them. The best moment, for me, though occurred when I was sitting in a crowd in the piazza outisde the arena near the attractive fountain eating a sandwhich lunch. Suddenly, a young man in front of me declared that he was from the Young Christian Workers group in Croydon and that he and fellow group members were going to show us in dramatic form how the flame of faith can be extinguished but also reignited. There followed a nice piece of interactive street theatre which was also raw in-your-face evangelisation. The Church definitely grew stronger today. Some of the students from Leeds Trinity who took part in the event are pictured above.