Our Lady Star of the Sea

BCYS news

Coming up, we have so much more to offer you!


All details can be found on our website www.bcys.net/events and we will be regularly updating our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@brentwoodcys) so please keep an eye on those for information!

 I’d just like to draw your attention to a few dates in particular;


Catechist Training and Resources Day, Saturday 7th November 2020


For several years we have held Training and Resources days for Catechists at Sacred Heart school in Upminster. This year we will be online, and we encourage you, if possible, to arrange a Zoom call, or – at a safe distance – gather with catechists you work with in the parish, to watch and share ideas together. As it is on YouTube you can, of course, adjust the timings/date to suit you – it will all remain on the BCYS YouTube channel after the day, and the direct link will be posted online a few days before 7th November.


The day will include prayer with the Walsingham House team, a keynote speech from David Wells, fresh reflections and ideas for catechists from Fr Dominic, inspired by the new Directory for Catechesis, and a showcase of fabulous resources from a number of groups and organisations. Read more here; https://bcys.net/events/catechistsday/


BCYS Voices Launch, THIS Saturday 24th October 2020


Normally on this weekend we would have “Youth Gather” – but as we cannot gather, on 24th October we are launching “BCYS Voices” with an Instagram morning prayer led by Harry and Georgia from the chapel at Walsingham House at Abbotswick. You’ll find this on the @BrentwoodCYS Instagram and YouTube at 10am.


Our Catholic faith has much to offer when we consider the key issues of the moment – and we are fortunate to have some wonderful speakers who were once young people within the BCYS, now immersed in these issues. They will present a series of “BCYS Voices” to bring their experience and insight to help us to see where we can “dare to dream” as we apply our faith to the way we live our lives in 2020 and 2021.


The first BCYS voices features Fr Paschal Uche, reflecting on the pain and problem of racism, and how we all have the potential to overcome it, as part of living our faith. Each new episode of “BCYS voices” (of approximately 45 minutes, including time for you to reflect about what is being said) will go live on YouTube on the first Saturday of every month, beginning with Fr Paschal on 7th November, and continuing through until next March. 


National Youth Sunday, Sunday 22nd November 2020


Celebrated on the Feast of Christ the King, National Youth Sunday is an opportunity to recognise young people as a gift in the Church, enable the youth ministry and parish community to celebrate young people and affirm the contribution of young people in the Church and those who work with them.

National Youth Sunday calls all young people to think about what following Jesus means to them.

We’ve just celebrated the beatification of Blessed Carlo Acutis – an incredible example to us all about how we can use the skills and resources we’ve got to bring people together and bring people to Christ.

This year the theme is Together. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of life. The way we live, work, study, play and pray has all changed. The most significant change has been that we have not been able to do many of those things together. This year’s theme recognises what it means to be ‘together’; with ourselves, with others and with God. There are many resources available at www.nationalyouthsunday.com


We would normally be asking young volunteers from around the Diocese to come and speak in parishes about the youth service, our work and their own experiences. That is not possible this year, so for the week prior to National Youth Sunday we will release a short video each day, with young people, young leaders, parents and catechists answering the question “What does the BCYS mean to me”, followed by a longer video for National Youth Sunday weekend. We will send the direct links for this in the next couple of weeks, to give you time to share them. This will be accessible on our website and social media accounts (search @brentwoodcys), but we will also be happy to send this directly to anyone who can make use of this resource. We would also ask anyone to wishes to make a donation to do so on our website at www.bcys.net/donate


Monthly Youth Mass

These will, for the time being, continue to be streamed on Instagram live on the first Wednesday of each month at 8pm. The next is Wednesday 4th November, and it is a memorial Mass for young people who have died. There are more details on www.bcys.net/events


Director of Diocesan Youth Ministry. Last Friday a panel which included Bishop Alan, as well as young adults in the Diocese, selected Claire Bailey to serve as Director of Diocesan Youth Ministry. You can read about Claire on the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service website, www.bcys.net/newdirector , and she will begin the role in January. Please keep her, and all our Diocesan and parish youth ministry, in your prayers.

Memorial Mass for young people who have died. On Wednesday 4th November the Youth Mass from the chapel at Walsingham House at Abbotswick, streamed at 8pm via Instagram, will commemorate young people who have died. You will find more details at www.bcys.net. If you would like the name of a young person to be read during the Mass, and a candle lit for them, please email frdominic@dioceseofbrentwood.org, before 2nd November.

Memorial Mass for those commemorated at Abbotswick. On Sunday 8th November, at 3pm, there will be a Memorial Mass on the BrentwoodCYS YouTube channel. Those commemorated with plaques and benches at Abbotswick will be named, and a candle lit for each of them. If you are connected to Abbotswick, and are not sure if we already have the name of your loved one, or if someone has passed away recently, please email frdominic@dioceseofbrentwood.org before 5th November.



 Information about the new Walsingham House at Abbotswick Team is now on the website, https://bcys.net/whabbotswick/the-team/

 We are constantly monitoring the latest Government and Church advice, and will write to all parishes and schools in the week before half term with suggestions for 2021 retreat possibilities, and booking arrangements. We are delighted to be fully booked for the next two months, offering retreats for Year 7 pupils in many of our secondary schools during October and November.


 Next month’s Mass (4th November) will be in remembrance of young people who have died, especially those who have died in the last year.

 24th October 10am, Launch of BCYS Voices, Instagram. We would normally be at Youth Gather on 24th/25th October. As you may know, we had planned a virtual afternoon, but unfortunately one of our speakers has suffered a serious family bereavement. We have also reconsidered the best way to support young people and those walking with them, and over the next six months will offer “BCYS Voices” – a set of six speakers, offering great insight and discussion/reflection questions. On 24th October we will launch this with prayer on Instagram led by Harry and Georgia from Walsingham House.

 7th November, 10am – BCYS Voices – Fr Paschal Uche. Fr Paschal will reflect on the pain of racism, the problem of racism, and the potential that we have, as young Catholics, to build the world in the image of Jesus Christ – where everyone is welcomed, valued and loved, in all the beautiful diversity of every race. 

 The “BCYS voices” episodes will continue with a fresh speaker on YouTube on the first Saturday of each month, through until March 2021.

 7th November 10am-1.10pm – Training and Resources Morning for Catechists. This includes input from internationally acclaimed speaker David Wells and the full details for the morning are at https://bcys.net/events/catechistsday/ As all the content will be on YouTube you can adjust the timings/date to suit you. We hope this will be a great stimulus for groups of catechists, with input that will give you space to reflect and discuss. You could gather (safely) as a little group, or arrange a group zoom call, to reflect and pray together.


The Brentwood Catholic Youth Service has a number of opportunities coming up for young people and those accompanying them, including Youth Mass on Instagram this week (7th October), and “BCYS voices” on YouTube, beginning with Fr Paschal Uche in November, considering the pain and problem of racism, and the potential for us, as young Catholics, to build the world in the image of Jesus Christ – where everyone is welcomed, valued and loved, in all the beautiful diversity of every race. More details at www.bcys.net and on Instagram and YouTube @BrentwoodCYS.


 With many blessings

Fr Dominic and all the BCYS and Walsingham House at Abbotswick Team.



18 hour challenge – THANK YOU. Over the summer young people across the Diocese ran 18km, baked 18 cakes, made 18 curries, walked 18 miles, delivered 18 cupcakes to older parishioners, and much more – and older pilgrims knitted 18 scarves, and made phone calls to 18 shielding parishioners. It was all to recognise the 18 hours usual travel time by coach to Lourdes – even though the pilgrimage could only happen online, the faith-filled service continued. Sponsorship and donations were received, and the remarkable total of £7794.77 was raised! This has been split between CAFOD and the BCYS, and will sustain vital work as the pandemic continues. Read more at https://bcys.net/lourdes2020/

Walsingham House at Abbotswick – a safe haven in lockdown. During lockdown, from April to August, Walsingham House served as a refuge for women fleeing domestic abuse. This work, in partnership with Basildon Council, was a ray of hope, and a profound way for our faith to be quietly lived in difficult months. To read more about the project go to https://www.caritasbrentwood.org/news/refuge/


 During lockdown, from April to August, we were able to work with Basildon Council so that Walsingham House served as a refuge for women fleeing domestic abuse. We accommodated five women and three children, and the House was truly a haven of peace and safety for them. We could not talk about the work at the time, obviously, but we do ask you to keep all those who were resident here in your prayers. The House is now open again for anyone who wishes to spend personal time enjoying the grounds and chapel – please ring ahead.

 This term

 As many of you know, the Walsingham House retreat team are working in a number of Secondary Schools this term, with retreat half days for Year 7s. October and November are full but there are a few days in December; do call to book if you missed this information in the summer.

 This term also includes “BCYS Voices” where Fr Paschal Uche and Leila Bousbaa will be offering input, on 24th October – full details in the next fortnight. There is a training and resources day for catechists on 7th November, with input from David Wells, Fr Dominic, and a variety of organisations and groups working with young people. Again, full details in a fortnight. Both of these events will be online, with information provided as to how to help those in your parish/school to make the most of them. In addition, online monthly Youth Mass continues on the first Wednesday of every month.


 For school retreats at Walsingham House, for Confirmation retreats, and for residential retreats, we are waiting until mid October to make decisions for 2021. This will naturally take account of the Government, Church and Education advice, at the time, and as far as it can be foreseen. We will be in touch again to offer as many opportunities as we can for 2021. If you have information which will help us, about how things are working in your school or parish, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 Walsingham House at Abbotswick – Team 20/21

The new Team move in on Sunday, and then have three weeks of training, formation and team building before beginning school retreats. Please keep them in your prayers. If Team members are from your school/parish, do take this moment to pray for them, and mention them in newsletters at the weekend. They offer tremendous witness and service, and they give themselves with tremendous energy and joy.

Joe Beattie is now in his third year as Retreats, Facilities and Hospitality Co-ordinator. Joe is from the Parish of Our Lady and All Saints, Basildon. On leaving school Joe served for a year as a volunteer on the Team, and then studied Law at Nottingham, where he graduated in 2017. He helped in the refurbishment and move to Abbotswick in 2017/18 as well as working for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and began his role at Walsingham House in September 2018. He is a wonderful animator of young people, and dedicated to Youth Ministry within the Diocese – he has also travelled many times to Lourdes, and attended World Youth Day in Poland. This year Joe will begin the CCRS with Brentwood Diocese.

 Harry Rawcliffe is in his second year as Assistant Manager. In 2018 Harry graduated from New College, Oxford, with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and then worked as a volunteer for a year at Casterigg Manor, the equivalent of Walsingham House in Lancaster Diocese (Harry is from Preston). Harry was appointed here in autumn 2019, and over the last year has become an invaluable part of the House; readily willing to pitch in to any task offered, and offering retreats full of joy and insight. Harry is currently completing the CCRS with Brentwood Diocese.

 Georgia Sayer has served for two years as a volunteer, and now begins as Assistant Manager, alongside Harry. Georgia is from the parish of Holy Family, Benfleet, and attended St Bernard’s school, joining the team after completing her A-levels. Georgia has extensive work experience at David Lloyd leisure centre, and combines this with constantly finding fresh ways to explain and illuminate faith for young people. Last year Georgia travelled with The Romero Trust to El Salvador – a powerful experience “in the footsteps of St Oscar Romero.” This year, as well as developing retreat leadership, Georgia will begin studying for a degree in Youth Ministry and Chaplaincy via Maryvale College, Birmingham.

 Rachel Kwasnica is from the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh on Sea, and attended St Bernard’s school. After A-levels she joined the 2018/19 Walsingham House Team, and brought wonderful energy and joy to retreats. In September 2019 Rachel began a degree in Brighton, but her heart is very much in Youth Ministry and so this year she rejoins the team, alongside study for a degree in Youth Ministry and Chaplaincy via Maryvale College, Birmingham.

 Lewis Dye is from the parish of St George and the English Martyrs, Shoeburyness, and has just completed A levels at St Thomas More High School, Southend. He is a keen athlete and runner.

 Felishia Elvin is from the Cathedral Parish of St Helen, Brentwood, and has just completed A levels at Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School. Felishia is an immensely talented singer, helping to lead the girls’ choir at the Cathedral.

Raphael Parascandolo is from the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh on Sea and has just completed A-levels at St Thomas More High School, Southend. His experiences in Lourdes have inspired him towards a career in medicine, and in autumn 2021 he will take up a place at medical school, to train as a Doctor.

 Erin Walsh is from the parish of St Mary Mother of God, Hornchurch and has just completed A-levels at Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School. Erin will be part of the Cafod “Step into the Gap” programme during the year, to understand issues of global development; as international travel to areas where Cafod works is currently restricted, the year is likely to include a fortnight in Rome, working with local projects there, as well as building links with Caritas International.

 As you can see, we are very blessed to have these young people volunteering and working within the Diocese – do keep them in your prayers. If there is anyone in your parish or school who may be interested in a place on the 2021/22 Team, do encourage them to email Joe during this term (josephbeattie@dioceseofbrentwood.org). Joe will also be able to help you with any questions about retreat bookings. 


Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society has registered for the Fun Walk which normally takes place at the Barleylands Farm site in Billericay. This year, participants and parish groups are invited to walk 2k or 5k anywhere they wish at any time during September and ask for sponsorship from friends and family to help support our work. All details & sponsorship forms are available on www.bccs.org.uk under the Events/Virtual Fun Walk tab or follow us on social media for updates. We would be very happy to hear from parish or family groups who would like to walk for us – please email Libby: lphillips@bccs.org.uk             


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