Pope Francis put young people centre-stage when he began 2017 with a letter asking them what they wanted of the Church. It is a question which will undoubtedly spark a lot of discussion, and what better place to start than the CYMFed Flame Congress, being held on March 11th 2017 at the SSE Arena, Wembley. Flame is a vibrant occasion during which a young Church gathers to engage with the big questions they face today. An App will be launched at the Congress to begin to gather views - and with well over 8,000 young people in the Arena, along with 21 Bishops, it will be a dynamic beginning to the dialogue which aims to help young people engage with the burning social issues of our time, not least, the plight of refugees.
The Congress is the largest Catholic Youth Event in England and Wales, and the 2017 guest line-up includes Cardinal Bo, Cardinal Archbishop of Myanmar (formerly Burma) - where, for many years, Christianity could only be lived in secret.
The headline music will be provided by double Grammy Award winner Matt Redman who invites young people to "...come to Flame, and bring your stories of faith and hope." Each young person is being encouraged to see themselves as individually loved by God; a "reason" and a blessing. They will be invited to see the profound connection between people, across faiths and continents, as we all share the "Divine spark" of creation. This message - a vital narrative in helping to shape and deepen the world view of each young person - will be made tangible by personal testimonies as well as powerful input from Sarah Teather, head of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
The climax of the day will be when Cardinal Vincent Nichols leads the thousands of young people in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There are a few surprises in store on the day - including a thirty foot boat....
Fr Dermott Donnelly, Chair of CYMFed said: "Flame is an incredible event gathering young people from many different places and backgrounds to celebrate and reflect upon Gods abundant blessings. The day is also a wonderful opportunity to explore how He sends each of us to be a blessing for others and for the world."
Details of the complete guest line-up appears on http://cymfed.org.uk/flame2017/
For booking details see: www.cymfed.org.uk/flame2017
Any young person in school year 10+ (age 15+) is welcome. Group leaders can book for 10 or more young people until March 10th. Individual young people or smaller groups should contact their nearest CYMFed member - a list of members is on the website.