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The first weekend of March saw small teams involved in the Youth Ministry come together to continue planning for the projects that are happening in the next year. The weekend was also for looking at the Strenna for 2012, “I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd lays down his life for his sleep.”Strenna2012 sito EN

Friday was left for people arriving in their own time and catching up on times and experiences since the last meeting.

The first activity of the weekend was to look at the Strenna and how it could fit into the work that we all do within the Youth Ministry. There were various points that were discussed surrounding the history of the Salesians and how the Strenna is relevant to our works. We then went off into our teams to continue planning our projects and tie up some loose ends. In the evening we came together for prayer and had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Following that we then had more time to socialise and to enjoy Salesian networking.

The next morning, we celebrated Mass and afterwards, put forward ideas that we could possibly work on over the next few years. It was also an opportunity to see what events were happening and what we could be involved it. 

Friday, 12 August 2011 12:59

Salesians Out Serving 2011

sosThe fifth SOS started in the usual fashion of meet’s and greets when people arrived. When I had arrived all but one person was there.

For this program there were 2 Hungarians, 3 Americans, 1 Czech and 1 Brit, if you don’t include the team. The first evening was socialising and the mass of commitment. The second day included Bob’s induction and team-building program. This is known with some people as Bob Induced fun and with others as Bob Induced Torture. I must admit some of Bob’s team-building has been tortuous but this was most certainly fun. There were lots of activities which included Shadow Puppets and making rhythmic banging on a table. Afterwards we had a social evening which involved carving an object that had been suggested by a member of the camp. On the Tuesday, we had the first day of service at Savio House. The service included clearing some woodland that might be used as a car park or outside chapel. Wednesday we worked at Bollington Cemetery to clear the driveway and the graves to make them look cleaner. We spent most of the day where we saw that one of the graves of a father had a picture drawn by their son, which showed Carlos Tevez holding the FA cup saying “We finally did it”. This was a high motivation for some of us for the rest of the afternoon. After we had finished our work for the day, and we had had our evening meal, we went back to the cemetery for a little prayer service for the faithful departed.

On Thursday we left in the early morning we left in the early morning to head up to Kendal to do some work for the Salesian Sisters that reside there. One group cleaned the kitchen of the Laura Vicuna centre while others cleared the prayer garden. In the evening we went to a local deer park to view the local landscape and wildlife.

Friday brought more work at Brettargh Holt. This was working at the back of the house and clearing the weeds around the garden and near to some of the trees. In the Evening we had our service of reconciliation. The service involved an examination of conscience and not the traditional confession. We wrote the things we were sorry for on a piece of paper which dissolved in water when it was placed in there. We were then given a general absolution.

On Saturday, we had our final day of service at Brettargh Holt and we finished off our tasks to make sure that everything was as good as it could be. We then went back to Savio House where we primarily staying. In the evening we had an Inter-Cultural evening. We were treated to a nursery rhyme from the Czech Republic, a cultural understanding of Hungary, a few games from Britain and a Salsa dance from America.

Sunday brought us our day off which involved a lovely trip to Sherwood Forest. We had a lovely trip through the exhibition centre, had a lovely work through the forest and in the afternoon we were treated to a Barbecue with Bob’s family.

On Monday, we worked at the Parish Church of St Gregory’s in Bollington. We helped clear the roof of the Parish hall, the back of the church building and the front garden area of the church. The evening was spent doing the traditional labyrinth prayer.

Tuesday was working at Bootle, which meant another 7am start. We got there for Breakfast and we started working on cleaning the inside and the front of the church. Some people went off to some parishioners’ houses to help them where they couldn’t do the work themselves. For lunch, we went to join the Vides group and the young people that they were working with. After another full days work, we departed for Savio House for our prayer evening. This included exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Taizé chants.

On Wednesday we finished off the work, at Savio House. This ended up clearing the back of the house to the right of the north lawn. In the afternoon, we cleaned the tools, washed the boots and cleaned the rooms that we had been staying in to finalise the work we had been doing. The evening was a competition of two teams. The Teams were The Internationals against the Incredible Builders. The games involved a quiz on American history, 2 picture rounds of European Cities and Car manufacturers, a spelling contest and a game of Higher-Lower with a deck of cards. At the end of the evening, The Internationals won the competition, however throughout the evening prizes had been given out and it was a fair contest between the two teams on prizes.

Thursday had the mass of commissioning and the presentation of awards which included; the hardest worker, the most determined worker and the most misunderstood person of the week. There was a lot of fun and a lot of reminiscing on this day to remember what we had done over the program. People left during the morning while others went on a walk through the village ready for their break in London.

The whole experience was great to re-live and great to share with such a diverse group of people. The work we have done and how it might have helped the many people we did service for was a great feeling and one that could only be experienced to understand.

Saturday, 07 May 2011 12:59

Phoenix Days Training Weekend

phoenixjpgWith the second Phoenix Days camp, 3 months away, we had our first meeting to get to know who we would be working with and what activities we would be doing in the summer.

Phoenix days is a holiday (We were explicitly told not to call it a retreat) for young people who wouldn’t normally get the chance to go on holiday or for people that could benefit from having a holiday with other young people.

After arriving on Friday Evening for social time, the main body of the weekend began on Saturday morning with Icebreakers and team building. This initially began with having to create a game that was based around an object such as hands and a pear. We then moved onto a game where we were given a letter and we had to create the longest word that began with the provided letter. Afterwards we had lunch and then our next activity, which was a survival game. In the survival game each of us were given a specific role and had a specific item. There was a defender of the group who had to carry a bat, 2 medics, 1 of which had to carry a chair, a keeper of wealth who carried money, a giver of light who carried a candle, a spiritual member, a giver of life who carried two boxes of wine, an injured person who had their legs tied together and a blind person who was blindfolded. We were then told to get from one place to the other, where along the way there would be several problems. After encountering many pedestrians and pretending that they could attack us at any second causing us to hide behind twigs and leaves, we made it to our destination. We then had dinner together and the rest of the evening was spent socialising and deciding what we would do over the Phoenix weeks.pheonix1-300x225

On Sunday we discussed ideas of fundraising and what activities people would be able to do. We then had mass with the Savio House community which involved the reading of the passion, a little procession around the grounds and some flag-waving.

Monday, 02 April 2012 12:59

Flame Congress 2012

Half past 5 on a Saturday morning and the alarm clock starts blaring. On any other Saturday I would be wondering why the alarm clock is going off at this time of the day but today is different. Wembley was Calling. After Jam on Toast and a cup of tea, the walk to the train station awaited. Thankfully, the weather was clear as the sun started sneaking up over the horizon although it was a little bit chilly. Upon the arrival to the train station, the first Salesian meeting took place. This involved  a quick catch up, buying energy drinks and buying a little bit more  of a sugary breakfast for the journey. 

After the 2 hour train journey we arrived in sunny London. Then the excitement and uncertainty of the tube beckoned. We successfully negotiated the tube and arrived at Wembley Park looking down Wembley way. It was also quite quiet around Wembley but there were a few people around and the atmosphere was apparent and building. When we were eventually allowed in we took our seats and welcomed any and all Salesians that joined us where we were. A lucky few of us were taken backstage at Wembley because we were going to be running workshops outside the front of Wembley Arena.

Then we took to our seats yet again and eagerly awaited the start. Looking around it was quite a warm but surreal feeling to think that there is still a strong youth Catholic presence within the UK. Even after having been to World Youth Day last year and meeting thousands of young Catholics over in Madrid, it was still great to feel such a strong presence.

The programme started with a bit of a dance and then two the two MCs, David Wells and Paschal Ushe welcomed us to Wembley and started the programme off with the theme on Respect. Which was the first of 3 and all were based on the core Olympic values. The theme of Respect had talks from Bridget Parker, Fr Timothy Radcliffe and Jason Gardener. There was also a small drama from Rise Theatre which was about giving respect to yourself and the people around you.

We were then let out to enjoy the wonderful sunshine that we weren’t able to see from inside the arena. While we were in the sun we played games with the young people and as you can see from the photo, the game Splat, was quite popular. There was just enough time between the games and the start of the next session to fit in a bite to eat.

The next session focused on the theme of Friendship. The session involved talks from Barry and Margaret Mizen, who had lost their son, Jimmy Mizen, in a tragic altercation. There was also a interview show on the stage which was about the work of CAFOD and some volunteers that have done work over in Kenya. There was also a group from the Safe Gorton Project where we were shown the formation of a band that had formed there and they then led us in all of the song for the rest of the day.

This was then followed by the theme of Excellence. This was lead by David Wells who was accompanied by Stef Reid and Debbie Flood. This session was all about telling us about how excellent we all can be and that we shouldn’t be held back from being the best we can be. Then probably the most memorable part of the whole day was a dance-song medley in the style of glee. There were many popular hymns sung to the tune of Don’t Stop Believing. If you want to watch it then there are a few videos on Youtube.

After a short break, the mood changed and we went into a time of adoration. We reflected on everything that we had experienced in the day. We were also challenged to take those experiences and to share them with everyone around us. The programme then ended and we were gifted a performance by the band, Indecisive.

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