Ambassadors of Catholic youth first posted 4 May 2000


 LONDON - 4 MAY 2000 - 350 words

Ambassadors of Catholic youth first posted 4 MAY 2000

Two young Catholics have been chosen to represent England and Wales at World Youth Day in Rome this August.

University student Laura Pugh, 19, and Matthew Holden, 23, an audio-visual technician, are to be commissioned by a representative of the Bishops' Conference at the National Catholic Jubilee Mass, to be held on Monday, 29 May at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

Laura, who is studying economics at Cambridge, said she was thrilled by the news. "It is such an honour to be chosen," she said. "Matt and I will be planning what we are going to say and I hope we will have a message when we return from Rome."

Laura has been involved for years in her parish of St Mary's in Bath, as a youth worker and catechist. She also sings in a close harmony group and plays rugby.

"It's not easy living as a young Catholic these days," she said. "There is a lot of peer pressure to drop it all. But there are wonderful things for young people in the church. I think we have also a great deal to offer our faith communities."

Matt was quite shocked when he was told he'd been chosen. "I never expected it," he said. An Aston Villa supporter and Venture Scout leader, he's also a volunteer youth worker at his parish of Holy Trinity in Sutton Coldfield and sings in a church drama group that performs around the country. He sees being a Catholic as much more than praying on a Sunday. "It's about building community, encouraging people to discover their gifts, welcoming everyone."

Twelve thousand people are expected to attend the NEC Mass, which will be celebrated by about 400 priests and bishops.

Organised by the Catenian Association, together with the Union of Catholic Mothers, Catholic Women's League and Knights of St Columba, it will be the largest celebration of the Mass in this country since the Pope's visit in 1982.

For tickets send an SAE and donation cheque made out to the National Catholic Fund, to Mr David Taylor, 127 Wynchgate, Winchmore Hill, London N21 1QT.

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