Finding Significance at Flame 2019

Photo Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk
Photo Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

The Jesuits in Britain's online prayer ministry, Pray As You Go, collaborated with the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation for a special resource to be presented at the 2019 Flame Congress. The event, which took place on Saturday 2 March at Wembley Arena, is the biggest Catholic youth gathering in England and Wales.

This year, over 8,000 participants arrived from all over the country, and some even from overseas. The theme for the day was ‘Significance’, defined as “worthy of attention,” “with meaning,” “important.” The word resonates particularly in the Scripture passages of the Baptism of Jesus and the Transfiguration. With today’s hectic networks and digital relationships, it can be easy to feel under pressure, especially for young people who may be well drawn to measure self-esteem in likes, social media resharing, followers, and other virtual entrancing reactions/distractions of the online world. Flame 2019 proposed to offer a deep perspective for the youth to understand better their centered position in their creation in the image and likeness of God.

The programme was packed with insightful talks, testimonies, and moments of prayer. Among the speakers, there were the philosopher Jean Vanier, Archbishop Eamon Martin, who was a Synod Father during the Synod on Young People in October 2018, Robert Madu, and many more.

A group from Wimbledon College, accompanied by Fr Tim Byron SJ and James Potter, attended the event. From the British Province, Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ, Fr Paul Nicholson SJ, Fr James Conway SJ, Delegate for Ministry to Young People, and Fr Dushan Croos SJ were also present.

“This is the fourth time we have taken groups from the College to Flame, and certainly the best," commented James Potter, chaplain at Wimbledon College. "From a lively worship led by Tim Hughes and MOBO award winning Guvna B, to moving messages from Jean Vanier and compelling and entertaining preaching from American pastor Robert Madu. With over 8000 young people in the arena there was a joyful and energy filled atmosphere, whilst also a deep sense of community and prayer, none more moving than the moment when the whole arena fell silent in adoration of the blessed sacrament.”

The ‘Significance Examen’ by Pray As You Go was created with CYMFed as a short resource to be used as a supplement to follow the event. The idea is that young people have the chance to reflect on their own significance to God and to those around them, and to provide a reminder that we are all precious to God and that God has a purpose and plans for us.

Emma Holland, Producer of PAYG who also was present at Wembley Arena on Saturday, said: "I was really pleased to have a chance to create a resource specifically for young people. We want Pray As You Go to be as helpful as possible to people of all ages and stages of life. 'Significance' is a crucial theme for our times in a world of social media dominance and confusion. It's my hope we can help young people grab a bit of space to pause and reflect on the high value God places on their lives."

The voice for the Examen is actor Martin Delaney (known for his work in ‘Now You see Me 2’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, and ‘Beowulf & Grendel’), who records for PAYG with his fiancée Emerald O'Hanrahan, also an actress (‘The Archers’, ‘Silk’, ‘Father Brown’). Both are Catholic and passionate about the faith of young people. To accompany the meditation, a piece of music was used called ‘Renew' by Salt of the Sound (feat. Narrow Skies') from their album 'Meditations Vol. 3'