Nearly 9,000 young Catholics from across the country attended the FLAME 2019 youth event at The SSE Arena, Wembley on March 2, 2019. The theme this year was #Significance, and speakers and performers focussed on the theme of each person's life being unique and special to God.
Speakers and special guests for 2019 included Archbishop Eamonn Martin, Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche community, American Pastor Robert Madu. Emma Borquaye co-founder of the blog Girl got Faith, and her husband Guvna B, a Christian rapper and Rise Theatre.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: "Flame is a wonderful moment; because we see here around 9,000 people realising their faith as Catholics is shared and they are part of a big family. They are learning because of what they are hearing and seeing, something deeply personal about their faith. They get a sense as Jean Vanier said, that there is a dream in their hearts and that the weaver is God. The way to find and realise that dream is to live in God's presence. There is a deeply personal message but there is also a sense that they we are never alone; there is always a community."
The theme of this year's conference was '#Significance'. According to CYMFed: "We are in a world where it's easy to feel constrained to measure self-esteem in Twitter and Instagram 'likes', responses to Facebook status updates and Snapchat conversations. We hope that Flame 2019 offers a fresh depth of perspective for young people."
Since launching in 2013, Flame (which takes place every two years) has gone from strength to strength to become the largest event of its kind in the UK. The day was organised by CYMFed (the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation). Over the years, the Catenians have supported Flame and raised money for the event. Father Dermott Donnelly, chair of CYMFed and part of the team responsible for Flame, said: "We've been very fortunate to build up a great relationship with Catenians. We wouldn't be able to put Flame on if it wasn't for them and their generosity. There's that great saying, you've got the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of age. I think that can be celebrated at Flame."
Jean Vanier who provided a talk by video link described his journey into faith. After a spell in the Navy, during a visit to France, in 1964, Vanier encountered some people who had been put into an institution because they had learning difficulties. He decided to buy a small house and share his life with them. "I knew that Jesus was calling me to something...I felt blessed by the whole reality...they wanted to be seen as significant, as a person of value and to be loved just as they are, and maybe that's what we all want...Where is your dream? Where is your deepest dream? I call you to find the secret of your own beauty." Today there are more than 147 L'Arche communities in 45 countries on five continents.
Past Grand President David Rowley who represents the Catenians on the board of CYMfed said: "Our work with Flame is part of a long tradition of supporting young people. Flame is a fantastic event and I am delighted the Catenian Bursary fund took part on the main stage which will offer so many young people opportunities to make a difference."
Watch a short video here: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/36648
Check ICN for more reports and films from #Flame 2019.
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