Pulling together in Preston

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Learning African drumming at Preston's African MassSome 30 young people in Preston were involved in an African Mass on 11 May. Hosted by St Clare's, the young people learned African drumming and made hangings with the word 'Harambee': a Swahili word meaning "pull together" or "heave ho!" - a fresh take on solidarity.

The young people were from Wicked Dynamic Youth at St Clare's and St Edward's Impact! Youth Groups, which welcome young people from all over Preston.

In the run-up to the Mass there were a series of workshops. For several weeks, Diane Camara introduced African Drumming and this was used in the Youth Mass. It got the young people engaged with African culture and African everyday life.

The aim of the Mass was to introduce the idea that the Catholic Church is wider than our experience on a Sunday suggests. As a Church, our liturgy may be broadly similar, but the interpretations are massively different. Preparation for the Mass also explored the meaning of solidarity and connected it to a life of faith.

Harambee banners

In addition to the drumming, the young people borrowed chitenge (multi-purpose traditional coloured cloths) from the CAFOD office and used them as altar cloths and to hang around the church. The young people also made banners with the word Harambee on them and learned more about its meaning.

'Harambee' banner made by young people at PrestonThe Mass was the regular Sunday night Mass for the parish, and was concelebrated by Frs Bernard Woods (St Cuthbert's Blackpool and Diocese of Lancaster Impact Youth Chaplain) and Dick Kinlen (St Anthony's Cadley Causeway), both White Fathers, as well as Fr Edward (just back from Kenya) and Fr Lakelend the Parish Priest at St Clare's.

The Youth Mass and preparation were coordinated by the young people, Emily Forbes and Terry Mattinson, who said, "It was a great Mass - and a brilliant way to introduce some key ideas in a way that everyone could participate in. Everyone had a wonderful time and the whole parish was involved!

"We were supported by Peter Grimshaw, Rosa Trelfa and volunteers from the Diocese of Lancaster North West CAFOD office, and were lucky enough to get funding from an application made by young people of Our Lady's Catholic High School, Fulwood in Preston, to the CAFOD Development Education Fund.  I want to thank the CAFOD offices in Preston and London for all their support to young people from our Impact youth groups."

Find out about youth groups at St Clare's