CYMFed is “a prophetic voice in our midst.” A bold statement to make about a national congress that’s only in it’s early years, but is it true? I would argue yes.
The meeting in Euston on Saturday 12th March was, for me, a very powerful experience, not only for the key note speakers, but for the reassurance that we are not the only ones working with and for young people in our country. It was also a chance to learn more about the vision for CYMFed and how they want us to be a part of that vision.
The day began with Michelle Moran (Sion Community) leading us through the four goals for youth ministry in this country, the things we should be aiming to do as good youth ministers:
Goal A – Youth Ministry fosters the complete personal and spiritual growth of each young person
Goal B – Youth Ministry calls young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today, rooted in the tradition of our Church.
Goal C – Youth Ministry enable young people to participate fully in the life of the Catholic community
Goal D – Youth Ministry sends young people out as prophetic witnesses of Christ, calling the world and the Church to a renewal of faith, hope and love.
We also heard from Paschal Uche, the young person from Brentwood diocese, who welcomed the Holy Father on his visit in September 2010. Paschal talked of hoe this experience has changed him, but one thing he focused on, I feel, should be a challenge to all of us. He said that meeting the Pope has challenged him to ask that ‘everything I do is sincere and from the heart.’
The afternoon began with Cardinal Peter Turkson (President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace) and a positive message that our voice was heard at the September meeting in New York. But the main part of the afternoon was taken up by J-Glenn Murray, a Jesuit priest from America, who is prone to bursting into song to help him emphasis his points, to the point of being compared to watching a Catholic episode of Glee by one member of the audience, this was however very effective. Murray had everyone up and singing at various times throughout his talk and it was very powerful to us as Church so alive and enthused. He talked of how we are a new creation and all we need is ‘a heart full of grace’ to serve the young.
David Wells (Director of Formation for the RC Diocese of Plymouth) summed up the day by sharing with us that he feels ‘youth ministry points to the horizons, it tells young people it’s a big world and God loves it’ and assuring us that ‘youth ministry values the young people so much that it refuses to constrain them’. He ended by asking us how we maintain our vocation, and what do we do if we feel it slipping; if we feel we may be losing the drive behind our work. He advised us to go back to the beginning, go back to the point when we fell in love, and that is what this day at Euston did for me; it reminded me why I love my job so much and what it is that drives me in my work with and for young people.