Fr Howarth (third from right) at the launch at CYMFed yesterday
The Catholic Youth Ministry (CYMFed) is hoping to fill out the 11,000 capacity Wembley Arena for the Flame Congress next month.
The organisers have already sold 7,000 tickets for the event, which will be hosted on March 24 and will link sport and faith before the London Olympic Games this summer.
The event was inspired by the success of the Papal Visit of September 2010, in which large numbers of young people at Westminster Cathedral, Hyde Park and at “the Big Assembly” at Twickenham were active.
There will be ten bishops at the event, as well as Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, and among the speakers will be Sister Catherine Holum, a former Olympic speedskater, Barry and Margaret Mkizen and Paschal Uche, who spoke at the Papal Visit. There will be talks on the themes of “friendship, excellence and respect”, while the music will be composed by Edwin Fawcett, who was heavily involved in the music for the Papal Vigil.
Such is the demand for the Flame Congress, which takes its name from St Paul’s letter to Timothy – “Fan into a Flame the gifts that God gave you” – that Hexham and Newcastle Diocese have hired a train to Wembley, and filled it out already.
Fr Dominic Howarth, Flame Congress Coordinator, said: “We hope people have a good day, but we want more than that – we want it to form their faith and their character. We hope it’s an affirming day for the person who is the only young person in their parish and looks around and sees 10,000 people and realises ‘I’m not alone here’.”