September 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Celebrate movement brings its message of joy to Scotland

“A GREAT success—we felt the presence of the Lord as we arrived.” —By STEVE LAVERY

These were the comments of Charles and Sue Whitehead, founders of family movement Celebrate, at the closing Mass of its first event in Scotland.

For two years a team of people involved in Catholic Charismatic Renewal led by Ged and Margaret Farrell from Keith, for whom bringing Celebrate north of the Border had been a dream for some time, had been preparing for it.

More than 220 participants made up of families, old and young, lay and religious, gathered in St Ninian’s High School, Giffnock, from September 2-3, to praise and worship the Lord, hear inspiring talks and attend workshops.

Young people of all ages—babies, toddlers, teenagers and students—were among those taking part in the incredible witness to the Faith of Scotland.

The Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia from Elgin, Brothers from the Franciscans of the Renewal, Glasgow youth team, and other volunteers ran special ‘stream’ events on the day.

Judging by the smile on the faces of the young people, the streams were a great success. Fr Tony Lappin, from St Andrews & Edinburgh Archdiocese, said he was amazed at the number of young people who had come forward for confession.

Celebrate was the brainchild of Charles and Sue Whitehead, who had the idea of hiring a holiday camp for a week for a family conference.

Charles wrote to every holiday camp in the UK and got one positive response from an owner who had been praying to offer his facilities in service of the Lord. The first Celebrate Conference took place in John Fowler Holiday Park, Devon, in 1994 and has continued ever since, booked out year after year.

The Celebrate experience is now shared across 12 regions in England and Wales and now, with great success, 13 as Scotland joined the party.

In his opening address, Ged Farrell reminded those present of the importance of the consecration happening at Carfin and called on all those present to pray that the Holy Spirit would fall on our nation as our land was being dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Describing the closing Mass, Mr Farrell said: “Words fail me, but I’m going for awesome. Huge thanks to all the team who have worked so tirelessly to reach this point—and of course to the Holy Spirit for pouring out such an anointing on all of us.”

Celebrate has a strong ecumenical element and one of the speakers at the events was Nonnie McVeigh, president of Aglow International (Britain), an inter-denominational organisation of Christian women and men, who brought the conference to life on Saturday evening. It had been a long day but her inspirational preaching stirred the hearts of the participants.

With inspiring music provided by Expedition Worship and thought provoking dramatic sketches by Rise Theatre, the weekend saw many gifts and talents being used to inspire people to ‘Seek first His Kingdom,’ the theme of the weekend.

In a letter to the Celebrate Scotland event, Bishop John Keenan said: “I gladly send you my prayers and blessing as you gather with Celebrate family in Scotland for the very first time.

“You gather on an auspicious weekend in the history of our Church as our Scottish bishops gather to make a Consecration of Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I know you will be imploring the descent of the Holy Spirit on us as you gather and that we will feel the breath of the Spirit breathed from Celebrate coming down upon us at Carfin.

“We will be invoking the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, who was first in the Gospel to feel the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Her, and we will ask Her prayers that the Paraclete come upon you as He came upon the new Church in the Upper Room at Pentecost.

“As you gather in St Ninian’s, may your praise and worship, your seminars and workshops, your celebration of Holy Mass and Adoration, your prayer ministry, drama and time for chatting fill you with fresh Faith and strength to manifest your relationship with the Risen Lord in Scotland today.”


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