" That chosen 'Ark' of salvation, free from the common shipwreck of sin. "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
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RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 27 : 'Old and New'

The Catholic Church - old and new - never ceases to amaze me!

Yesterday morning I had the privilege to attend Sung Latin Mass at the stunning St Etheldreda's in Central London.

St Etheldreda’s Church is the oldest Catholic Church in England and is one of only two remaining buildings in London from the reign of Edward I.

It is located in the heart of the city and is just a stone's throw from the glittering wealth of the now infamous Hatton Gardens where gold, silver and diamonds are traded - and millions of pounds change hands daily!

This church is a beautiful hidden gem - which befits the area which contains other gems of the stone variety.

St Etheldreda's Church is an ancient one - hidden up a small street called Ely Place - and it was the town chapel of the Bishops of Ely from about 1250 to 1570.

The Chapel took its name from one of England’s most popular saints of the day, Etheldreda, and it was once one of the most influential places in London with a palace of vast grounds. It was like an independent state, the Bishop of Ely’s place in London.

The Mass yesterday sung in Latin was beautiful and the choristers and stringed musicians were as stunning as the incredible stained-glass window above the altar which which dominated this small intimate church.

It was a unique experience to be in such an ancient church. Quite beautiful.

Today I'm exchanging the old for the new church as I head now to a Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) Members meeting in Southwark, London.

Members are made up of Youth Ministry representatives from Diocesan Youth Teams, Religious Orders, Organisations and Movements from across England and Wales.

We meet 3 times a year to plan National Youth Events like Flame which attracts 10,000 young people to Wembley Arena.

CYMFed also works to support those involved in youth ministry. It enables members to share resources and ideas with one another, and produces resources such as the recently launched the CYMFed National Catholic Award Scheme.

The young church is alive and active in the UK, and special things are happening up and down the country for young people.

Recently I was back home in Scotland - and again many exciting youth initiatives and events are enabling more young people to be strengthened in their faith. Exciting times!

The Catholic Church really is amazing - and in the last few days - I've been struck again by the sheer diversity and uniqueness of our church - from old traditions to new ideas!

So today please pray for our ancestors who passed our faith down through the generations. Without them we wouldn't be here today practicing our faith!

And also please pray for the young church, for Youth Ministers up and down this land who work tirelessly to bring the Gospel message to young people!

God continue to bless your one, holy, catholic and apostolic church!

Paul Murphy Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM).