Faith Summer Session report

Woldingham school was filled to capacity last week by the Faith Movement for the 35th Annual Faith Summer Session; five days of talks on the Catholic faith, prayer, sacraments, sports, social activities, and networking on a grand scale.

The theme was "Jesus Christ: the Hope of the World, the only answer to sin and death." Speakers were Frs Roger Nesbitt, David Barrett, Dominic Rolls, Paul Brooks, Mike Dolman and Scott Deeley. The guest slot this year was taken by Sr Roseann Reddy of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life who gave an account of the work of the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative. By turns moving, witty, hard-hitting and challenging, Sister's witness has inspired some of the young people to set up a new group on Facebook to discuss ways to help everyone do something pro-life. (If you are on Facebook, the link to the group is: Post-Faith Conference Pro-Life Support Group)

We have always been privileged to have a number of seminarians at the Conference. This year there were 14 - a significant proportion of the total number of seminarians in the country. A number of others were discerning a vocation. As ever, we had a newly-ordained Deacon this year and Fr Kevin Douglas was our newly-ordained priest. Priestly first blessings have been a regular feature of the Faith Summer Session for some years now.

As ever, there was an encouraging spread of ages represented with many newcomers in the 16-21 bracket. Afternoons were given over to football, rounders, and swimming. There is also an opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration. This is in addition to daily Mass and Confessions. The Conference is not a retreat and it was edifying that the seminarians were regularly at this optional "one step further" for the Lord.

Evening entertainments included a Quiz and a Celidh. The simplest way to describe this is to call it "Scottish Country Dancing" but I am likely to get pasted for saying that. Suffice it to say that it is an evening hugely enjoyed by the youngsters with a wholesome opportunity to make friends, dance, shout and be generally boisterous without having to concede to the "Club culture".

The next similar event will be the Winter Conference from 2-4 January 2008 at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire. Full cost is £95, student/unwaged £85. Age limits 16-35. I recommend this for any young person who wants to learn more about the Catholic faith and be inspired by the witness of other young people. But you will need to book early - places are limited (around 250, I think) and they will be snapped up. You can book at the Faith Movement website.

Apparently, I can share my Facebook album of photos by sending you this public link. I hope it works!

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