CYMfed Flame Congress 2012

(L to R) Lara, Theo, Abdi, Emet and Holly

On Saturday 24th March, I went to the CYMfed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation) Flame Congress at Wembley arena. Flame Congress was an event which saw 8,000 young adult Catholics coming together to celebrate their faith and witness the very best of Catholic Youth Ministry. The day was jam packed with speakers from home and abroad; Music, which appealed to the youth audience and an engaging atmosphere with participation from all.

 FLAME Congress is inspired by the events of 2010 and the forthcoming Olympics. September 2010 saw the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the U.K. Thousands of young Catholics joyfully celebrated their faith in the Piazza outside Westminster Cathedral, Hyde Park and Twickenham.  The forthcoming Olympics will highlight the strong relationship between sport and faith. CAFOD and the Olympic governing body are united in their Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

I got the chance to help out with CAFOD’s ‘Pass It On’ campaign at the 2012 Flame Congress. At the early Olympic Games athletes travelled safely due to a 100 day truce between all competing nations. The ‘Pass It On’ campaign wants to highlight those nations who won’t have peace during the Olympics this year. Please look at the ‘Pass It On’ webpage and participate in the campaign, http://passiton.cafod.org.uk/.

Helping out with the campaign was a lot of fun. In amongst saying hello to familiar faces we were filming guests taking part in ‘Pass It On’. To pass it on an individual or a group have to walk from left to right, whilst a friend or in this case a CAFOD volunteer are filming them. The video is then uploaded onto the website. We had a great number of people taking part with a wide range of enthusiasm shown. Some simply walked past the camera with a wave; others did dances, conga lines, piggy backs, wheelbarrows, Egyptian walks or in one case a monastic procession (Thank you Fr Christopher Jamison).

The arena was packed with Young Catholics from all over the U.K. The entertainment related to the three Olympic Values and was fun and inspiring. The day began and ended with Pop/Rock music from Indecisive, their rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ was particularly popular. There were several speeches during the day from prominent lay and ecumenical Catholics. Fr Timothy Radcliffe gave a speech on the theme of Respect. Fr Christopher Jamison, Director of the National Office for Vocations and former Abbott of Worth, challenged the young congregation to find stillness in their busy lives. Jason Gardiner spoke about excellence, recalling his triumph at the 2004 Athens Olympics winning a Gold medal in the 4×100 meters relay. All spoke from experience and with passion, inspiring the 8,000 young adults attending.

CAFOD was represented by Abdi our partner from Korogocho, Theo and Emet from St Columba’s College and Holly and Lara from Oaklands Catholic School. Abdi spoke plainly about life in the slums of Korogocho and how the sports centre CAFOD sponsors has helped him represent his country at Karate. Abdi attributed the excellence he has achieved in Karate to the respect he has learned from his sensei and his Parish Priest Fr John in Korogocho. Theo, Emet, Holly and Lara recounted their visit to Korogocho where they met and became lifelong friends with Abdi. 

The CAFOD stories from Abdi, Theo, Emet, Holly and Lara really captured what the Flame Congress was all about; Excellence, Respect and Friendship. 

It is very easy to take part in the ‘Pas It On’ campaign. After filming a friend walking from left to right across the screen upload your video to http://passiton.cafod.org.uk/using your laptop, Blackberry or android phone. Please visit the website for inspiration.

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