Kathryn Banville writes a special report on Blaze, Northampton Youth Ministry retreat event. She shares her reflections of the day, talks about CAFOD’s Lent appeal and explains the days thought provoking activities.
On the 23 April, the second of Northampton Youth Ministry Office’s ‘Blaze’ retreat events saw hundreds of young people from across the Diocese coming together for a day of fellowship, reflection and prayer. The day was aimed at teens preparing for Confirmation, and it included a chance for the Confirmandi to ask questions of Bishop Peter and celebrate Mass together, as well as to take part in their choice of workshops.
CAFOD were kindly invited to run a workshop. As CAFOD’s Lenten focus was on water, it was a great chance to introduce the ‘Life without Taps’ simulation game emulating the effort needed to collect water needed for daily tasks for a family living without taps or a working well and pump in Zimbabwe.
‘Life without taps’ is great at allowing players to quickly get involved with the topic while giving teams the chance to discuss their priorities for water usage faced with tricky decisions; most teams started by collecting drinking water from the river, and each had to carry a weighted bag to add a tad more realism to their journey. Obstacle cards added frustration for some teams who needed to stop collecting water due to illness caused by drinking dirty water, and other teams were very pleased to find they had a quicker journey halfway through, when a pump was repaired in their village.
With the help of Frank Sudlow, (formerly in charge of volunteers in Northampton, now retired to the role of a volunteer himself), the debrief discussion was amazing! The conversation moved from scientific discussion about how water may be purified to avoid illness, to intense moral questions about water wastage in developed countries like the U.K. and U.S.A. and the wide-ranging issues caused by lack of access to clean water in many parts of the world.
The participants left clearly able to see how some of these issues could and are being addressed with projects implemented by CAFOD and partners in a range of countries, and the volunteers left knowing that the future is bright with the sense of justice and thirst for God’s mercy that these young participants displayed.
by Kathryn Banville