Post Confirmation Retreat

27th – 29th November 2015

It was a great pleasure to spend the first weekend of Advent at the Diocesan Youth Centre in Whitstable with some of this year’s confirmation candidates – 20 young people in all (and 4 nearly young people). 

The theme of the weekend was “Hope” as we look to the future. 

On Friday, after a fairly good journey down to Whitstable (although someone asked “are we nearly there” only some 20 minutes into the journey – there is always one!) we had a fabulous fish supper and then played some ice breaker games centred around our weekend theme.  Saturday morning dawned bright and early (far too early it seemed for some) and after breakfast, and to shake off the cobwebs of sleep, we played some games outside the centre.  That led into our morning workshops including prayer stations and exploring different ways of praying.  After lunch our traditional bowling session and walk on the beach. 

Having returned to the centre, it was a fantastic surprise that the priest they had booked to say Mass for us was in fact Fr Anthony!  It was great to see him again, and we are very grateful he gave his time to say Mass for us.  After Mass, we held our Advent Feast.   It is loosely based on the Jewish Passover Meal and reminds us of the 7 promises of God based around passages of scripture, prayers, food, songs and skits – it was great fun!  A rousing game finished the evening. 

On Sunday, we spent the morning looking at our relationships with God and each other, and prepared affirmations for each other which were presented in the final liturgy. 

To conclude, I would like to make a few thank you’s.   Firstly, to the team in Whitstable for their hard work, dedication and friendship.  They are a true inspiration to all (young and no so young alike) and we are truly grateful to them for making the weekend such a memorable one.

Secondly, no catechesis could take place in any parish without the dedication of its catechists and helpers, and in our Confirmation Programme we are truly blessed with some brilliant people: on your behalf I would like to thank Helen, Jackie and Kevin for giving up their weekend so your children could have a fantastic time.

Finally, it was an absolute pleasure to spend the weekend with 20 fantastic young people.   They were great fun to be with, and entered into every aspect of the programme with enthusiasm and vigour: we laughed a lot, the prayer times were truly reverent, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company.  On behalf of our leaders and myself, we would like to thank them for giving so freely of themselves throughout the weekend.

Andrew Richardson