New people – scary

Tangles (not randomly holding each others hands)

Sorry this has taken so long – between uni life, house getting robbed and a meeting with a Bishop I’ve been a little disorganised (compared to my usual wonderfully organised self). I just want to update you on the first training weekend that occurred on the 19th-21st October at Savio House (great place if you’ve never been).

It started off well, I got into Macclesfield station with lots of time to spare so decided to get public transport. Savio House is in the lovely little village of Bollington (which is far far bigger than I expected) so when I got off on the wrong side of Bollington I didn’t realise the task that lay ahead of me. Arriving at the retreat centre covered in sweat and coughing due to a developing freshers flu was a great first impression.

It started off with everyone fairly quiet, we were sharing the retreat with a group from the Assumption sisters also going to WYD. The first group activity was dinner which is always a great way to get people talking. Following dinner we began the task of getting to know each other through the dreaded icebreakers. It’s amazing how difficult it is to remember around 20 people’s names and their favourite biscuit.

Before we knew it it was getting late. After a more subdued period of reflection, it was time for bed and finally some rest. The next morning a group of people went for a walk up a nearby hill (I woke up and decided more sleep was more attractive) and then another intense day began. So much information was exchanged from basic Portuguese to information on Rio (including information on the sort of work we might be doing with CAFOD) to details of our own journeys to this point. Then of course the topic of fundraising was extensively discussed – it’s now more of a scary prospect than a terrifying one. There was a brief period of relaxation in a nearby public house before dinner and then after dinner began the insanity.

From tardigans to carnival ice cream and an incredibly bed re-enactment of the Lion King, it was a night of laughter and loss of any form of self respect. It was such a great way to get to know each other and many pictures and videos were taken that I hope never see the light of day again. We ended the night with a period of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament which was the perfect end to such a whirlwind of a day.

Any hope of a quiet Sunday morning quickly evaporated when I saw the finger paint. My artistic skill leaves a lot to be desired but I was amazed how creative we became in transforming a sheet of white fabric into a vibrant reflection of Britishness, our personalities and what WYD is all about. Then we had mass with the community at Savio followed by coffee and biscuits with the community which was a bit of contact with the real world.

My hopes for a peaceful weekend of escaping from the rush of the real world were sadly disappointed. However, the weekend that we had was infinitely more useful. I got to know some amazing people who share my faith and passion for social justice. I know more about what I have signed up for (and surprisingly I’m more excited than ever before) and I feel that the journey has truly begun.

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