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Carmelite Youth: An Eventful Summer
24 September 2013

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As schools and universities across Britain begin a new academic year in September/October, Carmelites can look back with satisfaction at a busy and joyful summer of ministry amongst young people...


In late June the Carmelite friars who, at the request of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, serve the Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of York, along with their ecumenical colleagues, spent time reflecting with the students about to graduate.


Carmelite friars and fellow chaplains reflecting with graduating students on the experience of university and the life paths ahead of them.

The end of the academic year is an opportunity for the students and those who support them to celebrate their achievements.


York's Catholic Student Society (CaSSoC) celebrating
the end of the academic year with a dinner.

The Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of York celebrated a special Graduation Mass to ask God's blessings on those students and staff leaving the institution which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary.


The University of York's Catholic Chaplain, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm.,
blessing students at the Graduation Mass.

Students from York, led by Carmelite friar Brother Ged Walsh, made a pilgrimage to Taizé, France, in early July. Taizé is a well-known ecumenical community that offers young people from around the world an opportunity to make a week's retreat together, reflecting on peace and reconciliation.


Students from the University of York among the young pilgrimage at Taizé.

At the end of July the 14th international World Youth Day was held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Between 23rd and 28th July an estimated 3 million people - including Pope Francis - took part in "WYDRio2013".


Pope Francis greeting crowds at WYDRio2013


Over 3 million people gathered on Copacabana Beach for prayer with the pope.


A Carmelite friar amid the young pilgrims on the beach.

Carmelites, especially from various parts of Latin America, took part in World Youth Day, accompanying young people from the Order's schools and parishes.


The icon of Our Lady of Hope, which shows young people gathered around
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, was taken around Carmelite venues in Latin America
in preparation for WYD.


The Carmelite Prior General, Fr. Fernando, with WYD pilgrims from Mexico.


Some of the Carmelite friars who took part in WYDRio2013

Among the pilgrims from Britain attending WYD in Rio was Nick Webster, a student from the University of York who is very involved with the Catholic Chaplaincy. Nick was attending WYD as part of a team of young people sponsored by CAFOD. To read an account of his experiences click here.


Nick and other CAFOD-sponsored pilgrims at WYD in Rio

Running simultaneously with WYD in Rio, the Brightlights Youth Festival took place at Aylesford Carmelite Priory in Britain. Dubbed 'WYD @ Home', the event was attended by some 600 young people from Britain, Ireland, and Spain, who had the opportunity to reflect together and hear presentations from inspiring speakers.


"WYD @ Home" at Aylesford Priory


Young pilgrims doing the conga around "The Friars", Aylesford


A young pilgrim at prayer in Aylesford


Among the clergy participating was Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster


Joyful prayer at Aylesford Carmelite Priory

During the last week of August a number of young people connected to different Carmelite communities in the British Province took part as helpers on the Province pilgrimage to Lourdes.


Some of the young helpers in the Carmelite group that travelled to Lourdes.

Throughout September Carmelites friars involved in parish ministry have been visiting schools associated with their churches to meet the children and give assemblies. Some Lay Carmelites are also involved in youth ministry as teachers and volunteers.

In the last week of September the University of York's new academic year began, with Carmelite friars busy welcoming new and returning students who are celebrating the fact that York has been named the best university in northern England by The Times Good University Guide.
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