29 November 2021, The Tablet

Being Christian not easy but worth trying, young people told

Being Christian not easy but worth trying, young people told

Bishop of Nottingham Patrick McKinney leads worshippers in prayer at St Barnabas Cathedral.
Luke Potter

Being a Christian is not a passport to an easy life, and can even make things tougher, a Catholic service for young adults was told.

Father Neil Peoples, director of vocations for the Nottingham diocese, said at a service at the cathedral that it was important not to procrastinate, and to make the most of opportunities that come our way.

He was preaching at the Light Fever event in Nottingham, held in honour of the Venerable Mary Potter, who dedicated her religious ministry to the dying people of Nottingham and founded the Little Company of Mary in 1877. She was just 25 when she began her ministry.

Young Catholics from across the diocese took to the streets of Nottingham, inviting passers-by to light a candle at Nottingham Cathedral, in remembrance of a loved one who has died.

After a talk by the Little Company of Mary in St Barnabas Cathedral’s church hall at 11am, Bishop of Nottingham Patrick McKinney celebrated Mass at the cathedral. This was followed by Eucharistic adoration, led by the diocese’s Christus Vivit Ministry, while Christmas shoppers were encouraged to visit the cathedral and light candles.

Christmas shoppers were encouraged to visit the cathedral and light candles. Pic: Luke Potter.

Fr Peoples said in his homily at Mass: “We are given a stark warning by Christ, that we must stay awake and continue praying for the strength to face the challenges that will come our way. As we all know, being a disciple of Christ doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy.

“In many ways it can make things even tougher because we are aware of the things that we should avoid, and so have more temptations and challenges to face. It is a challenge that we have no hope of winning, if we don’t seek the grace of God to help us whole heartedly respond to the universal call to holiness. 

“It is a call that we must respond to each day; not putting things off until tomorrow because what if tomorrow never comes? Will we be able to stand confidently in front of God, knowing that we made the best of the opportunities that came our way?”

Joe Hopkins, director of adult formation for mission, said: “The last year and a half has been difficult for many people who have felt robbed of community. The diocese has set up the Christus Vivit Ministry to bring young adults together for the opportunity to pray together, to grow in faith and friendship; to provide fellowship in a world where holding the views and values of being a Catholic aren’t the norm and that can be challenging for young adults.”


Young people prepare to welcome Catholics to the cathedral. Pic: Luke Potter.

Mother Mary Potter was born in London in 1847 and she later became convinced that God was calling her to start a religious congregation, dedicated to looking after the sick and dying. In 1877, Bishop Bagshawe of Nottingham, invited her to begin her mission with two companions using a derelict stocking factory. This was the prologue to the founding of the Little Company of Mary.

Despite ill health, Mary Potter grew her ministry and travelled to Rome to visit Pope Leo XIII, who then invited her to open a house in Rome. By the time Mary Potter passed away in 1913, her congregation had expanded as far as New Zealand. She was declared Venerable in 1988.




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