I write to you still completely alive and full of joy from the wonderful experience of being part of EMBRACE last Saturday 1st November!
Embrace was a an all-day event for young people from all over the country – particularly the North of England – held in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral!
Around 1000 young people attended the event and RYM were present – with many of the Liverpool Young Adult Group and even some from the Birmingham Young Adult Group enjoying and participating in what was a simply memorable day! We also had an RYM and Redemptorist Stall – outlining all things that are happening within Redemptorist Youth Ministry and also Redemptorist Vocations Ministry!
I was particularly fortunate to have been involved in the planning of the event – having been on the Organising Committee from the beginning! I was even more privileged to be part of the amazing 16-piece Music Ministry which led the liturgies of the day and the Mass which was celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon and concelebrated by a multitude of priests!
Embrace was the brainchild of John Griffin – a young lad who studies at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA)! I have got to know John well through the young adult scene here in Liverpool, through playing music together and through the Liverpool Uni Catholic Society! John attends our very own RYM Young Adult Group in Liverpool when he can and he was part of the Music Ministry Team for our very own RYM WHOLLY HOLY event at Hawkstone Hall last June!
Embrace – was an ambitious plan – aimed at gathering young Catholics from across the North to celebrate our faith! There were many challenges along the way – but the day proved to be a wonderful success and a truly uplifting experience!
Internationally acclaimed speakers such as John Pridmore, Sr Catherine Holum and Fr Dermott Donnelly inspired us with accounts of their own faith journeys and there were also Youth Testimonies including one from Lizzie McManus who is a member of our very own RYM Core Team!
Workshops and social times allowed us all the opportunity to gather and share and learn about our faith – and gave us all a great boost as we met and gathered together as a young community of faith!
A beautiful period of Adoration and opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation – allowed for wonderful and intimate times of prayer during the day!
Days like these are truly mountain-top experiences – and they encourage us all to keep battling and persevering in our journeys of faith! These days are vital in allowing us all to realise that we ‘are not alone’! We are all members of the Church, we are all unique but yet we share that same common bond of faith!
The MCs on the day – Gavin Landers (Seminarian from Oscott College) and Charlotte Hib (School Chaplain) – were wonderful in creating such a welcoming atmosphere in the incredible Cathedral! They challenged us with 2 questions all day – 1) Do you believe in God? – (surely which most of us present did and do) but more importantly 2) Do we believe God? – do we truly believe that He loves us and wants us to be who He created us to be?
EMBRACE was well-named and Archbishop Malcolm in his homily encouraged us to Embrace the World, Embrace the Church, Embrace the Cross – just as the Embrace Music Anthem (specially written for the day) challenged us to do!
Very few days in this country manage to attract so many young people of faith- and we now look forward with much anticipation to the FLAME 2 congress at Wembley Arena on March 7, an event which will attract 10,000 young people from all over the country!
Numbers aren’t everything – “where 2 or more are gathered in my name” – but what Embrace and Flame give us all is true JOY, HOPE and the feeling that we are part of an amazing, vibrant youthful church that is active and fully alive!
Let us EMBRACE one another, EMBRACE the World and its people, and EMBRACE the Cross!
Let us thank God everyday for our faith! Let us never take it for granted and let us spread that joy of our faith to other young people across our country!
Coordinator of RYM