Happy New Year!

How did you spend your New Year’s Eve celebration? Stephanie, our Communications Officer, spent her new years with hundreds of other young people at Youth 2000, a Catholic retreat held in East London. She explains why it was the perfect way to start the New Year.

Usually I am the first to attend any party going, especially at New Year; I love a good firework display and excuse to celebrate with friends. However, this year I ended up doing something a little bit different. My friend invited me along to Youth 2000, held at St Bonaventure’s secondary school in Upton Park, East London. I had no idea what to expect. Although it was a weekend retreat, I only attended on the Sunday (New Year’s Eve).

I arrived mid-way through the afternoon, in time for a women’s session about what it means to be a woman of God; as a daughter, sister, bride and mother. As well as our speaker, we had other women give personal accounts of the importance of being a woman and how it is important to have strong relationships with the other women in our life.

Following this we had a holy hour of adoration, this was an opportunity to pray with the presence of Jesus Christ and to offer up everything from the last year that we wanted to leave behind and our hopes for 2018. It allowed for a time of personal reflection.

After dinner, we had a talk on Faith and Healing which was followed by a healing service and opportunity to go to confession. This was a very powerful and emotional time for many. It was a chance to move into the new year with a clean slate.

We had evening mass that went over midnight into the New Year. At midnight, we heard all the fireworks in London going off outside. We continued to celebrate the presence of Jesus through singing and praise. It was amazing to spend my new year with so many other young people who had chosen to celebrate their New Year in this very special and different way. It was a confirmation that faith in young people is certainly not dead. Although very different to my usual way of celebrating New Year, I would certainly recommend it and would go again next year!

Are you a young person called to put your faith into action? Do you want to serve others in some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities? Volunteer overseas with Jesuit Missions. Find out more here. This can be a real chance to reflect on our lives by experiencing another way of life. As is central to the Society of Jesus, “Poverty of life constantly calls us to reflect on how we can live more simply with less.” (General Congregation 36)

Posted on 04th January 2018

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