" Jesus, thank you for everything, for my very beginning and my very end. "
Blessed Maria Celeste Crostarosa OSsR
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CSsR RYM Advent Retreat...

'Living in Hope' : Waiting Watching & Wondering
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Well well well.... we have just had the most blessed and special weekend for our RYM Advent Retreat at Hawkstone Hall in rural Shropshire.

Entitled 'Living in Hope: Waiting, Watching & Wondering' - the weekend retreat held on 4-6 December attracted 18 young adults from all over the country and all 3 RYM Young Adult Groups were represented.

It was a special gathering of those from Liverpool, London & Birmingham, many of whom attend our regular young adult groups.

We welcomed many new people for their first experience of an RYM Retreat and it was lovely to welcome faces old and new and see them mix together in such a wonderful spirit of unity, hope and prayer.

The weekend was a real chance for us all to come together and enter more fully into the season of Advent and also to prepare in a meaningful way for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

It was also an opportunity for us to gather to pray together, to take time out individually from the hustle and bustle of life before Christmas, to have fun and to reflect on the true meaning of this special time of year.www cssr12

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This year our retreat theme allowed us each day to focus on the three elements of our Advent season 'Waiting Watching & Wondering', and we were privileged to welcome our very own Redemptorists - Bishop Ralph Heskett (Bishop of Hallam) and Fr Maurice O'Mahony (Rector of Hawkstone Hall) who provided input and sessions to the group.www cssr3

Our days began and ended beautifully with Morning and Night Prayer and there was the most amazing opportunity each night to 'Wait with the Lord' in extended time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament' from 9.30pm-1am.

It was so heart-warming to see our young people spend time throughout the night in periods of profound and reverent Adoration even until 1am. It just shows the depth of young people's faith and their need for silence in the presence of the Lord. Truly awesome!

On the Saturday afternoon after Mass and lunch we embarked on the most wonderful of Emmaus Walks. Split into pairs (with most pairs not knowing one another well), each duo set out on a long walk over the course of 1-2 hours around the stunning Hawkstone grounds, where they were encouraged to let the Lord walk with them and guide their conversations. 

Even the strong Saturday winds of Storm Desmond did little to dampen the incredible openness and spirit shown by all. Feedback from everyone showed the depth of faith and spirit of trust that all of us put in the Lord to accompany each other in this most special of journeys.

With the onset of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy starting a few days after our retreat - we had a beautiful Reconciliation Service in the Church on Saturday evening led by Fr Maurice and assisted by Bishop Ralph - and once again through prayer, music and opportunity for the Sacrament of  Reconciliation, it was a real time of grace and mercy.

Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent celebrated by Bishop Ralph, some group pictures around the Christmas Tree and a beautiful Christmas Lunch ended our weekend in the most fantastic manner.

It just goes to show - that despite many views held of young people especially in the media - we are blessed to have a generation of so many wonderful young adults who are involved in Redemptorist Youth Ministry across the country and who have such a strong faith.www cssr18

Not only do they 'Wait' in faith, and keep 'Watch' with the Lord in prayer and Adoration, but they have a great sense of 'Wonder' and awe of God and His creation.

The weekend was quite simply a beautiful example of young people 'living in hope'. A joyful hope!

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 Watch below for the slide-show of the day