Cardinal Cormac at Closing Mass of Oct '06 16 October 2006

 "It is not easy to be a Christian, a Catholic, a disciple of Jesus Christ, in our day," Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, told more than a thousand young delegates during the Closing Mass of 'Oct.06', organised by the Catholic Youth Service, at the National Indoor Area in central Birmingham on Sunday 15 October.

The Cardinal principal concelebrant together with seven bishops: Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham; Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff; Bishop Ambrose Griffiths OSB, President of the Catholic Youth Service; Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham; Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton; Bishop Mark Jabale OSB of Menevia; and Bishop Philip Pargeter an auxiliary bishop of Birmingham.

There was a palpable and deeply prayerful silence throughout the huge auditorium during the distribution of Holy Communion. This was in complete contrast to the noisy pop concerts and fiercely competitive sporting events for which the NIA is best known.

'Oct.06 Find it, Own it, Live it', was conceived by Catholic young people more than two years ago and masterminded by the Catholic Youth Service.

In his Saturday evening keynote address on the theme Faith And Culture, Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflected on the play, '167 Hours', written specially for 'Oct.06' and given its premier performance there.

"The Gospel tells us how to live. Catholic faith is a way of life: all 168 hours per week," emphasised Archbishop Nichols, who spoke of the underlying patterns of modern society centered round the importance given to power, possessions and popularity. These reveal the key elements of the culture of our day: individualism, materialism and secularism.

"In contrast to these, we are not given another theory or philosophy, such as capitalism, socialism or communism, but a person: Jesus, the Christ, the only Saviour. We fashion life in a relationship with him. He shapes our way of seeing, knowing and doing. He is the foundation of true living, the one who can redeem every culture."

Other keynote speakers included: Fr J Glenn Murray an American Jesuit and Chris Bain, Director of CAFOD.

Asked for her reaction to 'Oct.06', Helen Bardy, Director of the Catholic Youth Service, said: "I am really thrilled! On a personal note I have been inspired by the young people who have participated with enthusiasm and commitment."

Bishop Ambrose Griffiths OSB, President of the CYS said: "There is always a concern that such an event will go smoothly but 'Oct.06' has been better than I could have ever imagined." He added: "A representative of the NIA told me how nice it was to organise an event for young people who were polite and co-operative."

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