Over the last week or so I’ve managed to speak to a number of young people from my parish and elsewhere who attended Hearts Aflame earlier this month. The reports that have come my way have been very positive indeed.
One of the great strengths of Hearts Aflame is that young people are able to speak with priests and religious – priests and religious, what is more, who are almost all not afraid (or encumbered by outdated and silly ideas about being better able to mix with laypeople by dressing in civvies) to wear their clericals and habits. Apparently this year Hearts had representatives from the following dioceses and religious:
- Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin dioceses
- representatives from the Dominicans, the Community of St John, the Marists, and the Augustinians of the Assumption; not to mention the Sisters of Life, the Beatitudes community, the Little Sisters of the Poor and others
Other highlights for these participants were (in no particular order – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some!):
- regular Prayer of the Church (Lauds, Vespers and Compline) – all chanted according to the traditional modes
- the opportunity for confession and spiritual direction
- some great lectures throughout the week on a number of varied and interesting topics
- vibrant evening sessions, culminating in a talk from a variety of speakers each night
- a vocations session, including Q&A with an expert panel
- time simply to chat with other young people who are in the same boat as them
- reverently celebrated liturgy
- a Solemn High Mass according to the Missal of 1962
Here is the Hearts Website for those who are interested.
Another great strength of Hearts Aflame is the sheer number and variety of things on offer. There is always something to appeal to the young people it seems, no matter where they are at. From the music, to talks, to the availability of clergy, to the free time, to prayer teams and so much more, all the participants are given a way to grow closer to the Lord at Hearts Aflame.
Importantly, they aren’t likely to get the ‘paddling pool’, ‘fluffy’, ‘smorgasbord’, ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ ‘catholicism; what they get at Hearts is the Faith, pure and unadulterated.
The greatest strength of Hearts, from what I’m hearing, is the liturgy. For ten days, these young people are immersed in something thoroughly Catholic; where the liturgy is celebrated beautifully – and where it is clear to participants that at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours they are entering Something Great. The liturgy, well celebrated, is so important in these times. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
I am personally very impressed to see the offering of an optional Traditional Mass at Hearts Aflame. So, it seems, are the good folk over at New Liturgical Movement; they’ve put up a short report and video of the Mass. You can find it here.
Congratulations to the Planning Team – and especially to the priests involved at Hearts Aflame – for all the work you are doing. Please pray for this essential apostolate in New Zealand. I would say that Hearts is doing much to assist along the lines shown in this article.