New year, new beginning?

By Amy Lea, Animate Youth Ministries team member

First of all, I’d like to introduce myself … I am Amy, a gap year member of the Animate team.

In July, I graduated from Leeds Arts University where I studied Illustration with not much idea of what I wanted to do next! I have always been creative and throughout my time at university I worked with young people in my role as a student ambassador while also volunteering in primary schools as part of my professional practice module. This, combined with my experiences in Lourdes over the past eight years, is what led me to join the Animate team. 

Being in education from the age of four all the way up to 22 means that for me, a new year begins in September with the start of the school year. This would mean a new teacher and timetable, while for the past three years at university it meant new houses and housemates.

In September 2019, my new start involved moving into Lowe House, with a two-week induction period before work began with Catholic schools across the Archdiocese. Amid all these September reboots, thinking about 1 January as the new year has always felt slightly unnatural to me. New Year’s resolutions are something I have never stuck to and, to be honest, I’ve always felt as though not much has changed in this January period. 

However, when I joined Animate, one of the things I was asked to prepare were answers to some questions. This included naming my favourite piece of scripture and I chose 1 John 3:11: ‘For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.’ I had never really pinpointed a favourite piece before but this is something I remember from a very early age, something ingrained in me. On new beginnings, John continues with the following words: ‘And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.’ (2 John 1:5-6)

So this new year, I am going to challenge myself to consider it a fresh start after all – a fresh start for my own personal journey in faith, with the goal being to walk in love. This is something which has been part of my faith from the start but is ever more important at this busy time of year: to walk in love in my work with young people, in my life as part of a community and even in my encounters with those who may be strangers to me.

Father Simon Gore writes: Although many of our year 8s will have already been confirmed, there may be some, particularly in non-Catholic schools, who would like to be confirmed this coming year. If so, they are invited to a preparation day on 29 February from 10am–1pm at Lowe House in St Helens at which they will cover the material missed in classroom-based sessions. They can sign up for the day through Eventbrite (search for ‘Animate Youth Ministries’), and please see the attached poster for more information.