Sheffield teenager gives speech to 10,000 young Catholics

A Sheffield volunteer has represented the city at the biggest gathering of young Catholics in the country.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 9:04 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:39 am
CAFOD young leaders Ryan Wilkinson, from Sheffield, and Leah Fox, from Newscastle speaking onstage about meeting refugees at the Flame 2017 event held at London's Wembley Stadium (credit_Thom Flint,CAFOD)

Ryan Wilkinson, aged 19, spoke at the event earlier this month in front of 10,000 other young people at London’s Wembley arena.

He said: “I think that as a community of Christians, faith ties us together and motivates me to go out and share that passion with others, to help them experience the same sense of community and passion.”

Ryan was speaking at the third Flame 2017 event alongside fellow Catholic Leah Fox from Newcastle.

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The pair spoke about their life-changing journey to Lebanon last winter to meet with young refugees who had been forced to leave their homes and were being helped by local charities, funded by CAFOD.

Ryan, who volunteers at a Salesians retreat centre in Bollington, added: “Over the past couple of years we’ve worked with young people to help them understand more about poverty and injustice and get involved with overcoming it.”

The theme of the day, 10,000 reasons to hope, was inspired by Grammy Award winner Matt Redman’s song of the same name, which the singer performed at the event. The event, organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, also included talks by leader of global Christian movement Soul Survivor, Mike Pilavachi and Sarah Teather, head of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Sarah gave a speech and encouraged every member in the audience, who had travelled from England, Scotland and even Norway, to do one thing to make a difference in the world.

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