Flame 2023: congress gathers 8,000 young people

The Shalom Catholic Community in London participates in the Flame congress, the largest Catholic gathering of young people in England and Wales.


With the theme “Rise Up”, inspired by the world youth day’s Motto for 2023 – “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), the Flame Congress started with a beautiful procession with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. We also had talks by Archbishop Tim Costello SDB, David Wells & Robert Billot, Jenny Garzon Saavedra, Cardinal Tagle, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Archbishop Tim Costello SDB reminded us of Pope Francis’ message to young people at WYD 2016, where they were invited not to be couch potatoes, but to stand up because they are the present and future of the church. He reminded us of Mary’s invitation, where she not only heard God’s voice, but listened to His call and accepted her mission as the Mother of Jesus. He also told us the story of St. Francis of Assisi – a young man who after the war came back and also heard the voice of God and listed the invitation to rebuild God’s church. He concluded by inviting us to listen to God’s voice so that we can rebuild the church.

Cardinal Tagle spoke about the work of angels in our lives, recalling Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary, and also Joseph’s dream where an Angel directs him to take Mary as his wife. He shared about the presence of the angels in his life, who helped him on his way to priesthood and in his mission. He invites us to look at the angels that God sends us.

Emmanuel Preto, 14, says: “My favorite part was when Cardinal Tagle talked about the angels because it was so interesting.” Enthusiastic, he sums up his experience – “Flame was amazing, it was cool to be in a room with 8,000 other young Christians to learn about other people’s experience with God, and just being there with my Shalom friends made me restless with the need to go to the next Flame event.”.

Throughout the day we had musical numbers from Guvna B, The One Hope Project, Faith Child and Adeniké.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols led us into the moment of adoration. He invited us to listen to the voice of God just like Mary, by silencing ourselves, because in a world full of distractions and noises, we need to silence our hearts to hear the voice of God.

Lucas Paschoal, 16, declared:  “Flame was an amazing experience for me and my friends. I absolutely loved the music and the dancing. It was very inspiring and I cannot wait until the next Flame!”.

The day was concluded by a beautiful moment of adoration where 8,000 young people were silenced before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to pray and entrust their lives into the hands of Our Father.

Flame Congress on Instagram


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