What a great day we had again at the Diocesan Youth Rally! This year the rally was held at St Rita’s Centre, Honiton, on Sunday 18th September. The weather was clement, the parent helpers were tolerant, enthusiastic and encouraging and the 17 youngsters, ranging in age from 6 to 13, had a fun and spirit-filled day!

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Between us we won 20 medals, including a special mention for James who was awarded a medal for helpfulness and courtesy of which we were all especially proud! Our teams were gritty and tenacious in the Tug of War; we came away with gold in the over 13 category as well as in the 12 and under! Our team work was impressive too; in the It’s a Knockout  the U12s gained gold and silver and the 13 and over got a silver too! Individually we have very talented children indeed! Callan was absolutely determined to regain his title of last year in the skittles and through dogged perseverance achieved another gold, with Piran gaining the silver, matched by Elise in the over 13 group, despite her protestations that she was hopeless at skittles! Elliot won an easy gold in the penalty shoot out, (we have a future England footballer in our midst I suspect!) then Piran gained another silver and finally a bronze in the Netball. He certainly went away with the heaviest haul of medals. Demelza, not to be outdone, won a silver medal on the Bouncy Castle! Daniel, Elise, Terese and Corrine enjoyed a civilised conviviality which was lovely to see, and mention must be made of Rosie and Mary who, although only 6, were a credit in every event, pulling like little troopers in the Tug of War and participating enthusiastically in everything despite their size!

This year we were asked to do the bidding prayers and the reading at the Mass which our youngsters achieved with confidence and clarity; gratifying as well as heartwarming. It made me realise that we underuse them in our Mass on Sundays!

On a personal note, I was absolutely delighted to be told by the organiser that our Parish team was hallmarked by our team spirit and zest, but what was especially inspiring for me was that James, Callan and Isaac were joined by 3 lads from an Exeter Parish and Charlie joined a team made up of youngsters from all over Devon who had met at Catholic camp in the summer. The sense that at this event, they are all just Catholic young people, the spirit of taking part being more important than the winning, the range of ages, not only of the children but of the volunteers too, some of whom were grandparents, left me in no doubt that God is in His heaven and all is well with our world.

It wouldn’t be possible to take our youth without the support of the ‘usual suspects’ so once again a huge thank you to Lucy Byrne, Jo Bowery, Lewis Bloor and the Knock family as well as our vociferous supporters Sarah Baretto and Sharon Mizen.