Nearly 200 YCW Members, past and present, celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the YCW in England and Wales last month at Salford Cathedral. The day began with Mass, presided over by Rt Rev John Arnold Bishop of Salford and over a dozen priests, including the YCW National and Assistant Chaplains, Fr John Marsland and Fr Mark Connolly.
The Mass saw many of the current YCW and IMPACT young members participate as welcomers, readers, in the Offertory, altar servers and in the music group.
National Team member Marc Besford said: "It was great to see the young people show their talents and confidence to all those gathered, with many former members commenting that they were happy to see a new generation of young people taking the lead within the YCW."
Afterwards there was a celebration in the Cathedral Centre, where members reconnected and shared memories of their time in the YCW. One member, Rose, recounted her long service to the YCW, having joined in 1946, and she was given the privileged job of cutting the YCW birthday cake.
In England and Wales, the first YCW group was founded in Wigan in 1937, with Father Gerry Rimmer as the Chaplain and Patrick Keegan, a young factory worker, as President. Patrick would go on to become the first lay man to address an Ecumenical Council of the Church when he addressed the Second Vatican Council on the role of the laity.
National President, Kate Wilkinson, thanked all those who came along to support the event and took the opportunity to share the YCW's upcoming campaign on Young People and Mental Health, called "Mind! The Gap". She said: "I would like to thank everyone for their service to the YCW over the last 80 years and especially all those who could join us for this magnificent occasion.
It is important to take time celebrate all the good work that has gone on, but it is even more important to keep looking to the future and seeing where the YCW can make a difference to the lives of young people. That is why we have decided to launch our new campaign in early 2018 and will be building a national campaign team of young people to help us run it."
For more information about YCW see: www.ycwimpact.com