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Our family has just returned from a faith-filled week at the family Celebrate Catholic Conference in Ilfracombe at which the 1200 or so delegates, 40% of whom were under 25 – the Church is alive! – received the Eucharist at Mass every day, spiritually guided teaching from gifted speakers, times for healing and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, opportunities 24 hours a day for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as fellowship and celebration together.

The theme of the week was “The Highway to Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8 (NLT)) and two Bishops graced us with their presence, the Right Reverend Christopher Budd, Bishop of Plymouth and the Right Reverend Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham and how wonderful they were!

There were speakers, workshops, a mime artist, dancers and theatre performances plus top quality praise and worship. In the market place there was a selection of Christian books available on every topic imaginable as well as pottery, beautiful artwork, oppostunities to support charities such as CAFOD and information on what the Catholic Church will be doing at the 2012 Olympics.

There were special well organised streams for children from the age of 3 years up to Year 11 and those young people aged 16-24 were welcomed by the team from Joel’s Bar. There was something for every age and every interest but it is impossible to explain all that went on, the best way to find out is to experience it for yourself.

Next year’s conference runs from 31st March to 6th April 2013 and details are available on the conference website: http://www.celebrateconference.org/

If you cannot wait that long, (and why should you?) come and experience one of the 7 weekend conferences being held in Cardiff, Bristol, St Albans, Southampton, Brighton, Macclesfield and Torquay between now and November – again further details can be found here: http://www.celebrateconference.org/weekends/ God bless all involved in organising these events.