The British Province of Carmelites was part of the planning and volunteer team for Flame 2023, that took place on 4 March at the OVO Arena Wembley. Organised by CYMFed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation), the event was aimed at young people aged 14+ and was attended by over 8,000 people. The theme was ‘Rise Up’ – inspired by Pope Francis’ theme for World Youth Day, Lk 1: 39 “Mary arose and went with haste”.
The theme was introduced and developed through inspiring speakers, high energy music, moving drama and powerful moments of prayer. Contributors included Cardinal Luis Tagle, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB of Perth, Robert Bilott US Attorney whose story is told in the film ‘Dark Waters’, CAFOD partner from the Amazon Jenny Garzon, award-winning rapper Guvna B, singer-songwriter Adeniké, Catholic worship collective One Hope Project and MOBO and multi award-winning rapper Faith Child.
Highlights from the day included a message from Pope Francis encouraging those attending to “dare to be different.” Young people from across England and Wales brought so much joy and enthusiasm, bringing together and celebrating a vibrant church. During the concluding adoration and prayer, the silence and stillness was felt across the arena. Fr. Ged Walsh O.Carm, described Flame as “the feeding of the 8,000, where we saw glimpses of the Kingdom”.
The final words at Flame 2023 were from Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: “Jesus does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them”.