CYMFed – the Congress
‘We have set our hope on the living God’
Over 1,000 youth leaders, chaplains, teachers, priests and religious gathered in London this weekend for the first national Congress for youth leaders spearheaded by CYMFed – the new Catholic Youth Ministry Federation for England and Wales.
Headline speakers included Fr Timothy Radcliffe, Abbot Christopher Jamison and Bob and Maggie McCarty (the husband and wife team working in Youth Ministry in America for many years at a senior level). Archbishop Vincent Nichols gave the closing exhortation within the final liturgy.
The McCartys called upon the packed Congress to be Jesus to the young Church and asked the youth leaders to think on:
‘Are we more compassionate? Are we more loving? Are we more peaceful?
Are we more courageous? Be not afraid – I am with you’.
‘Connect young people to the faith community. Help the young Church encounter Jesus’.
Read/download the McCartys’ full powerpoint presentation
Fr Timothy Radcliffe addressed the theme of hope: “The older people need to give hope to the young, by believing in their future. And the young give hope to older people, because they are the future.”
“My hope is that you will be bearers of hope. The future may look bleak. We may wonder where on earth we are headed. Each of us will live through moments of crisis when the future seems unsure. But every Eucharist we remember the moment when there seemed to be no future except the cross, when it all seemed over, and then Jesus made this extraordinary act of generosity and hope. And so we need never be afraid. We can share our hope with each other.”
Read/download Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP’s full address
In the Q&A, Abbot Christopher Jamison spoke about the need for ‘evangelisation by contemplation, not evangelisation by amplification’. ‘Spend time in silence yourself. Eventually you will really want to go there. You can offer the integrity of your own silence to other people.’
In his closing exhortation, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “This is a day to make us proud – to restore flagging spirits.”
The conference also saw the launch of ‘Mapping the Terrain – Discovering the reality of Young Catholics’ a new CYMFed publication which maps the terrain the world that young Catholics inhabit.
The key message of the Congress was that we will find most hope in Youth Ministry when we work together – the best Youth Ministry is where young people are offered a variety of approaches to live the Gospel message and to deepen faith, including social action and service, time to be together, and time to contemplate through meditation and Eucharistic Adoration. CYMFed has achieved the bringing together of many different voices within Youth Ministry and offers real hope for the future.
Fr Dominic Howarth
CYMFed Chair and Brentwood Diocesan Youth Chaplain
CYMFed Vice Chair and Young Christian Workers (YCW) President,
(NB Away until 5th March)
CYMFed Secretary and Plymouth Diocesan Co-ordinator for Youth Ministry
CYMFed Treasurer and Southwark Catholic Youth Service Director
More about CYMFed