Animate team member Jonno reflects on the trials of the past year – and finds reasons for cheer from his experiences of working with young people in the Archdiocese.
It is crazy to think that it is over a year now since the first coronavirus lockdown. I did not expect it to last this long. I remember being with the team on a Friday afternoon last year, after a day retreat, and speaking with Tom, Lauren and Father Simon. We all thought we would be in lockdown for a couple of weeks and that would be it.
Whatever the circumstances in which we have just celebrated Easter – hopefully with our families – I hope it proved a safe and happy time. After spending Lent in prayerful reflection, we can now joyfully celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Even if, of course, Easter this year has been quite strange once more for people.
Our work on the Animate Team has certainly been strange. We only managed to work with a small number of schools before the second lockdown came into force. I missed out on some work too as I caught the virus around that time and having to self-isolate back at home was hard. Hopefully, we can get back to working with schools before the academic year ends.
Being with Animate for the past year and a half has been good for me, however. Working with schools has given me more confidence, especially when it comes to speaking in front of young people. It has given me ideas of what I want to do in the future too. Yet the best thing for me about Animate is living in community. I have met great people in the time I have been here and shared great moments with the team, such as going on trips and working with schools.
I love sharing my faith with people and teaching youngsters that having a faith and going to church is nothing to be ashamed of, because I think this is a big thing with many of them. When I was their age, I was scared of telling friends that I went to church and had a faith, but now I can tell them not to be afraid and can underline how important faith is.
I have spoken about this to some young people on day retreats, and now I see they are taking part in the Faith in Action award scheme, which is brilliant. Lauren and Fr Simon have made it an amazing, fulfilling project to get involved in, so if you’re a school pupil reading this and wish to try it, please give it a go because it really is highly rewarding.
• Please visit our YouTube channel (Animate Youth) to see the latest reflections from the team, including our Pillars of Lent series.