Tag Archives: new year celebration

Happy New Yes…

20120103-185009.jpgOn New Year’s Day, the Youth 2000 retreat sadly (and exhaustingly!) came to an end. The four days were heavily laden with the grace and glory of God; for many, many young people it was a moment of personal conversion as they encountered Christ in Confession, spent quiet time with Him in the Eucharist day and night, and expressed and received their joy and love in times of praise.

Now I feel that this New Year is truly a time of newness – God makes all things new in Christ! He does this again and again in our lives, transforming our hearts more than he changes the situations we find ourselves in – precisely because this is how he transforms these situations. Especially coming from such a blessed few days I feel that this new year is a time when we can allow God to make all things new in us. Even – and especially – those situations or relationships we feel are hopeless, cannot change, will never be life-giving – perhaps these are precisely the things we need to surrender to the Lord in this new year to allow Him to transform them. Expectant faith seemed to be one of the themes of our retreat. The woman with the hemorrhage who approached Jesus didn’t think to herself, “Maybe he will heal me” – she knew that if she touched him, he would heal her. Let’s not give our problems to the Lord thinking, “Maybe he will transform them” – let us know and be assured that he will transform them – in the best way, at the best time.

So, being sure of the newness that the Lord brings – each morning! – we can be courageous at the beginning of this year in once again saying YES… Whatever trials or discomfort this Yes will bring, whatever changes it will require me to make to my plans, whatever comfort zones I will be invited to step out of, whatever areas of sin I will be asked to relinquish… Let us say a wholehearted Yes to the Lord at the beginning of this new year, 2012. He will make all things new.

New Year Retreat

20111219-161526.jpgThis is the enormous pile of over 250 personal invitations which were sent out to all the lucky 16 to 25 year olds in our parish! 🙂 Every year between Christmas and the New Year in the parish we host a youth retreat which is held in the church and the primary school. Over the four days and especially on New Year’s Eve around 300 young people turn up for these days of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, teaching, Mass, Confession and joyful celebration. These are always a very blessed few days, with many conversions, young people returning to the sacrament of Confession, being affirmed in their faith through friendship with other young Catholics, and time to reflect on and speak with others about their vocation. As someone who discovered the beauty of Christ and the Church through Youth 2000, I have a great love of serving at these retreats and pray that many young people will hear the voice of Christ, longing to speak to their heart, longing to give them his joy and peace. This year will be extra special since my sisters, brother and brother-in-law-to-be will all be coming too so we get to continue celebrating Christmas together 🙂 May the Holy Spirit open the hearts of those young people who attend this year to prepare them for the grace of encounter with Christ.

If you know a young person who would like to participate in this retreat, please see http://www.youth2000.org for more details or call 020 8675 2743.