Celebrate comes to Ss Alban & Stephen

Around 400 people aged eight months to 80 gathered at Loreto College in early November to take part in the Celebrate family conference with a theme from Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing.”

Celebrate runs Catholic Charismatic, faith-filled, fun events across the U.K. for all ages, combining good Christian teaching and celebration of the liturgy, all in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Children had fun playing in age-related streams, while adults listened to inspirational speakers, attended Mass both days and had an evening of praise & worship and prayer ministry on the Saturday evening. Four priests offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Local mum Francesca Hammond said, “I love coming to Celebrate as my 3 daughters learn a lot while having great fun in their streams. As I know they are happy and taken care of I can focus on attending the workshops and deepen my own faith. Celebrate is a great weekend for the whole family.

Grandparents Mike and Sylvia White took five of their grandchildren. Mike said “It was challenging for us grandparents to keep up with their pace especially as they stayed overnight with us on Saturday. However, it was well worth it to see the joy they were experiencing. Meal times were really well organised so it was easy to get them all fed with food they liked. They were also well fed spiritually, so much so that when we arrived home on Sunday afternoon, they gave a performance for their parents of the song they had learnt, ‘My Lighthouse’ to the accompaniment of the You Tube video with music and words!

Main speakers included Dominic McDermott, Archie Cameron (Agape Ministries), Pippa Baker (One Hope Project), Jim McManus (Healthcare CBCEW), Tommy O’Neill (Chemin Neuf), Fiona O’Reilly (Divine Renovation UK) and Sarah Wells (Cafod).

Workshops ran on topics from the Joy of Hope to Prophecy, Anxiety and Catholic Families, Mental Health, Educators, Painting and Millennials, amongst others.

The event culminated on Sunday afternoon with Mass at Ss Alban & Stephen celebrated by Fr Alan where all the children and adults came together to give thanks for the weekend.

Fr Alan said “It was a wonderful occasion to have so many families gathered together celebrating their faith. There was a real sense of joy among the entire congregation irrespective of age.

The outgoing chair of the team bringing Celebrate to St Albans says, “This weekend was only made possible by a wonderful team of volunteers, speakers, priests and deacons especially our own beloved MSCs. It could not have run without the huge support of Loreto College for Girls who provided us with a safe, peaceful location to worship, learn, pray and share.

We hope to see you next year. More information will appear at Celebrate Family Conference or you can register interest at stalbans@celebrateconference.org”, Tim Stevens.