Sunday, April 03, 2011

Confirmation Retreat in Bury St Edmund's


I didn't get round to mentioning a very impressive Confirmation Day I helped with a couple of Saturdays ago in Bury St Edmund's. About a hundred youngster came from all over that part of East Anglia and from as far away as Peterborough for a day coordinated by Hamish McQueen, the Diocesan Youth Officer. I was invited to give a couple of talks and to celebrate the Mass. Other guests included the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, who came down from Bradford, and Paschal Uche from Brentwood diocese. Paschal spoke about his experience meeting the Holy Father on the steps of Westminster Cathedral and took part in a panel answering questions. I was very impressed by his answers. My two talks were on the Holy Spirit and on the Mass. The day was animated by Edwin Fawcett who came with some members of a Gospel choir from the parish where he works. Again it was impressive to see his great skill at taking a group of highly self-conscious teenagers and getting them to sing!
Obviously the main focus of the day was not for me to promote vocations but it was easy to introduce the theme to both of the talks and the presence of two young sisters also helped ensure that questions surrounding vocation and vocation discernment were very much on the agenda - often raised by the young people themselves as they wondered what led these two young women to walk away from worldly excitement and enter religious life.
These days are in many ways simply sowing seeds and one never really knows how well they went. So it was nice to receive an email later from one of the Catechists who handed out evaluation forms at the next Confirmation session. She writes, "I was expecting a positive response but nothing like the one I got. They were all begging to go on another retreat... The young people spoke about how much they had learned and how much more seriously they were taking their faith after Saturday".
Let's pray that the diocese gets two or three vocations from this year's Confirmation groups!

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