Sunday, 19 September 2010

A sensational day- interview with Carmela Tucker

Whilst waiting in a queue to get into Hyde Park, I caught up with an old friend, Carmela Tucker to find out how she was finding the day. Carmela is a 20 year old from a small parish in Whitstable Kent in the Archdiocese of Southwark who has just finished her gap year working for Southwark Catholic Youth Service in the residential centre and is currently preparing to start university. I asked her six quick questions to get her thoughts on this historical state visit.

So what are you enjoying most about the day?

I've really enjoyed the opportunity to see the Pope, being part of the crowd and experiencing the frenzy that surrounds the leader of my Church. I also value his wisdom and inspired words that produce thoughtful doctrines.

Why did you want to be here today?

I wanted to see the Pope! I also wanted to see friends again from WYD and be part of something massive and historical. WYD- World Youth Day is a massive gathering of young Catholics and it's a chance to celebrate our faith together. I was at the last one in 2008 in Sydney. It was just amazing.

Justin Turner, Greenwich Deanery leader, spoke of the encouragement the visit gives young people to get involved in the life of the Church. "I belive that the most valuable thing young people can take away from a huge Papal Event like this is a renewal of their faith. Saturday's events were not only uplifting but also very inspirational. The Holy Father spoke directly to us as young people and gave us a new courage that as the future of the church we are of high importance and he has given us the hope that with our faith we can be all we want to be. We saw the Pope in a different light in that he seemed very at ease communicating with the youth and was very happy in our presence. Again this has given us more encouragement that the Church needs us and that we have a mission to get further involved."

What are your reactions towards protestors, do they bother you?

Well they have their opinion and that's cool. I saw a poster saying 'Condoms save woman's lives' which is a bit frustrating as I don't think that's the right message. One condom can save one lady/man's life I agree- but it also prevents life. 1 condom, 1 person but millions of babies are prevented from living.

Pope Benedict XVI or John Paul II?

I prefer JP II but I like the Pope in general as an inspirational figure. This state visit is a part of history and I was a part of that!

Do you think the young people here understand or appreciate the magnitude of this event?

Yeah, I think so. I reckon most people here REALLY get it, just look at the amount of people here- there's loads of them! It's a testimony to the fact that everyone wants to be part of history. Faith is a big element of people's lives here- they wouldn't be here if it wasn't. I suppose there are also some young people here who are very curious about experiencing faith on this kind of scale, perhaps that is their reason for being here today. Nonetheless, it's a massive witness to our faith- showing and telling people that this is our Church and we are proud.

When speaking to one young person, it was clear that liturgy itself was incredibly important to her and when I asked her what was her favourite thing of the day, she said 'the mass'. I must admit, I was scared that the crowd may become apprehensive about the Latin mass, but it was simply gorgeous. Everyone was incredibly reverent and was able to follow it well, the booklets produced were very informative and the Magnificat booklet allowed people to join in with the hymns. The youth of 2010 were truly engaged and involved in a traditional mass, something I wasn't expecting to see.

If you could describe the day in one word, what would you choose?


So there you have it. Yesterday was a sensational day which allowed young people to celebrate their faith comfortably with their peers. People were not ashamed to be there, not ashamed of their faith and in actual fact spectacularly mature and respectful while being excited and full of life, what a balance to achieve! The Church is definitely a place for everyone and the youth really do want to be here. Let us now do what we can to continue to encourage and support each other in our faith journey, carrying forward the message of His Holiness to achieve stillness in our busy lives to find God and ultimately peace.

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