Becca Evenhuis is a 20-year-old Theology student, studying in Chester (but will always be a Londoner at heart!). She is a part-time Taylor Swift enthusiast, with a passion for children’s ministry and her lovely dog Henry.
I am so proud to say that I am part of the BXVI generation. During his time as Pope, Benedict XVI has made me feel like I am part of something real.
I was bought up in a Catholic family, so I am very blessed to be able to say that faith has played a massive part in my life. But I think there comes a point in every believer’s journey where they have to ask themselves ‘how much does this really mean to me? ‘
I think for me that moment was two years ago when the Pope visited the UK. In the months and weeks leading up to his visit, the media were going mad with their anti Pope take on everything. All I was seeing on TV and in the papers was that no one wanted Papa to visit and if I’m honest I was terrified. I thought it would be a flop and I’d be left embarrassed to be Catholic. But God had something better planned (I shouldn’t be surprised really should I?!). Of course the visit was a success. Not only was it a success but it completely flipped my perception of what it is to be Catholic upside down!
I was at the Mass at Westminster Cathedral and the celebration and prayer vigil at Hyde Park with thousands of other young Catholics from the whole country. Pope Benedict led us in a quiet time of prayer in the evening in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was during those quiet moments of prayer in front of Our Lord, that for the first time in my life I had a real understanding that the Church is way bigger than I could imagine. I am part of a beautiful, diverse and absolutely HUGE Church, shepherded by the Pope, with Christ at the centre. There are millions of people in the same boat as me, with the same questions, looking to the same God for answers. And if my Church is bigger than I could imagine, then how big must my God be?!
During his visit to the UK, Papa B called us young people to be people of love. To take time to accept the love that God has lavished on us and share that with others. He challenged us to step up in our faith, to not be afraid and to be proud of our identity in Christ.
That has got to be something real, something worth living for!
So thank you Papa! I will never forget you for your bravery when you came to the UK. I will never forget your genuine love for us. I am so impressed by your ability to trust the Holy Spirit and to take a step that many people would be too afraid to take. Thank you for challenging me to be more. Thank you for your service to our Church. We love you and we will be praying for you as you are for us!