New opportunities for young people

Dear Father, dear Headteacher, dear Parish Catechist, dear Steward of the Gospel,

Many blessings as our time of “lockdown” continues – I know that these are times when many are struggling, as well as times of surprising joy for some, and above all this email is to let you know that the young people of our Diocese, and all who walk with them, are prayed for each day.Please reword parts or all of this email for the young people you serve, and please send it on directly to them in whatever way is possible. 

Over the last few weeks we have been adjusting to new technology, and we have had some great help along the way from Southwark Catholic Youth Service, and from James Barber at the Ursuline School in Brentwood, while our small but cheerful team here have also been absolutely brilliant in all of their work & innovation.

We are delighted to be able to say that we can now offer everything on YouTube as well as Instagram, and we know this means more people will more readily be able to access it. I am especially mindful of schools who don’t want to promote Social Media – YouTube can be accessed without any sort of account, and we have taken off the comments so there should be no unsuitable content (though we can’t control the adverts). We have also gained / purloined / discovered some fresh lights and other tech, so our sound and audio quality is better. Alas this does not improve the quality of the homilies, but it does make them easier to listen to.

The YouTube channel : It is easy to find us by going to youtube.com and searching for “Brentwood Catholic Youth Service.”

The Instagram Livestream can be accessed on the Instagram App, and then simply locate BrentwoodCYS.

We have a number of opportunities in the weeks ahead, and we hope these are helpful; please do pass them on to young people in your parishes, schools and Confirmation groups:

This Wednesday, 29th April, 8pm Youth Mass especially for those inYear 6, Year 11, Year 13 and those at University. For these year groups, the closure of schools was especially significant and painful, and at a time when GCSE and A-Level revision would have been all-consuming, Uni finals would have been beginning, and Year 6 pupils would have been just a couple of weeks away from SATs, we thought that it would be appropriate to honour these year groups with Mass. Everyone from all years is very welcome, of course, and – fittingly – the Mass is on the Feast of St Catherine of Sienna who offers us and all young people the beautiful insight “Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire!” More details at bcys.net

Next Sunday, 3rd May, 10.30am Masswhere we will be joined by Bishop Alan with a special homily for those who were due to be Confirmed at Pentecost. It is Good Shepherd Sunday so we will also be thinking about vocations, and who God is calling us to be.

From 3rd – 31st May, 4.32pm each day, “Acts 4:32.”Current and former Walsingham House Team members reflect on a Saint that inspires them, in 90 second videos, designed to help each of us to think about how the Saints would encourage us to act in this time of lockdown. The videos will be released at 4.32pm each afternoon.

Wednesday 6th May, 8pm Youth Mass in conjunction with the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society.To be in isolation and lockdown tests all of us – abnormal times can lead to abnormal feelings, mood swings, and many other elements that challenge our mental health. We are built to be relational, and “social distancing” feels unnatural because it is. Many young people already struggle with mental health, in themselves or their friends, and so during this Mass we will be sharing tips and hints from the BCCS to help during lockdown and as lockdown eases.

Sunday 31st May, Pentecost Sunday– a special message for Pentecost from Bishop Alan.

We imagine that by 31st May the nature of social distancing and lockdown for the months ahead may be clearer, as well as the timing and extent to which our schools will reopen before and after the summer holidays.

We are anticipating that it may still be some months before public gatherings of any size are permitted, and so we are continuing to work at our online offerings during this period. We welcome your thoughts and ideas about anything that would help you and the young people you serve. Everything is on our website,www.bcys.net and through our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts we are trying to highlight two or three useful national resources each day, to provide different inspirations in relation to faith and catechesis. If you come across a resource that we have not yet found, please tell us and we will willingly share it.

With many prayers

Fr Dominic and the (depleted yet cheerful) Team at Walsingham House at Abbotswick