If you had asked me a year or so ago what I would be doing now, there is no chance I would have seen myself working with the Animate team, trying to inspire the young people of the Archdiocese. Yet here I am back at the place where my youth work vocation started some seven years ago, and the same zeal I had back then still burns to this day!
Twelve months ago I was in a good job with British Gas but there was something missing and, thankfully, a couple of emails and a lot of prayers later, I ended up in one of the team coordinator roles here at Animate. This was a little bit like many prayers being answered all at once and more than a few times since I have asked myself when this dream would finish and I would go back to thinking about cavity wall insulation.
Happily it hasn't finished; I have the best job in the world (which is the truth!) and the sense of joy I get from working with young people and taking them on a journey – even for a few hours – has helped me become a better youth worker. There is always something new to learn.
When I think about what we have achieved as a team over the last academic year, it makes me feel quite proud: a Mission Week in Cardiff (not forgetting Charlotte's broken foot); starting Nightfever in Liverpool; helping create some wonderful Lenten Services for our schools; our marvellous team pilgrimage to Rome; and building stronger relations with primary schools in our Archdiocese.
I now look forward to what may be in store next at Animate – with the new team arriving at the end of summer, the journey starts again – although there are a few things to keep us going before then. We have schools still to work with, a Lourdes pilgrimage to look forward to and hopefully a few more laughs around the dinner table. There is also this year's summer festival at Lowe House on 12 July, which will conclude with our Lourdes Departure Mass.
For me the journey to Animate really began in Lourdes a number of years ago, where I went as one of 400 young people gathered together in service and in faith. This same journey of faith will commence for many others in only a few weeks' time, leaving on nine different coaches and by plane – I hope to see you there, if not at one of our events beforehand.
Date for the diary
Summer Festival: 12 July at Lowe House (12.30pm start, with Mass at 6.30pm). There will be games, activities, workshops, inflatables and much more. All ages welcome.