This past weekend I was in Cardiff for the national retreat for the youth of Wales which was being run by Youth 2000. I was there to give a few workshops on vocations discernment and was very much impressed by the numbers who came and the enthusiasm with which they participated in the discussion. Cardiff currently has five seminarians, the highest number for a long time, and I also met a number of lads who are hoping to apply to the diocese. On the Saturday we were joined by the Welsh seminarians from Oscott and Allen Hall.
The retreat was very strongly supported by Fr Gareth Jones, the (relatively) new university chaplain in Cardiff and also by Archbishop George Stack who joined us on Sunday morning and celebrated our concluding Mass. It was clear from his sermon that Archbishop Stack understands the importance of bringing young people together so that they can encourage each other. Although the value of such events may seem obvious not everyone understands the insight of Blessed John Paul II when he started big Catholic youth gatherings such as World Youth Day. Young people need the support of their peers. Not to accept that manifests at best an affective immaturity and at worst an emotional cruelty. So I was particularly pleased to hear the Archbishop mention that he is looking into the possibility of appointing someone to develop youth activities in the diocese. It will be hard to find the right person but such a post has the potential to rejuvenate the Church in Wales.