Nightfever began in Cologne, Germany after World Youth Day, 2005. The idea was brought to Dublin in 2013. In the meantime it has been successfully held in a number of cities and towns throughout Ireland. It is at this stage an international initiative of the new evangelisation, taking place on a regular basis in cities and towns worldwide, leading many people to encounter Christ.
On Saturday night, I experienced this wonderful initiative in our own city here in Cork. Nightfever is a simple concept and the results are very encouraging. It involves opening a church at night in this case St. Augustine’s, Washington’s St. It began with Mass, during which volunteers were missioned and sent forth on to the streets. The volunteers, young and not-so-young invited passers-by to visit the appropriately lit Church: light a candle and say a prayer in an atmosphere of live music during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
Over two dozen volunteers, wearing hi-vis jackets, together in two’s, spent four hours on the nearby streets inviting and accompanying people into the Church. One volunteer confided, that there is always a level of apprehension about what sort of reaction one might receive, but young adults have a refreshing idealism and an ability to reach for the stars when given a challenge. Their commitment, generosity and creativity are truly inspirational.
I find it encouraging that a group of teenagers would forgo their usual Saturday night entertainments to stand in a sometimes cold, wet and busy street and approach total strangers in an effort to share the joy of the Gospel with people. Many of the volunteers were happy to tell their stories of Oasis supporters deciding to light a candle for their mothers, or for a friend who was unwell. A young Muslim lad was reassured when a volunteer emphasised that all were welcome to stop and pray and a young girl who earlier accepted the invitation to light a candle returned later with her reluctant boyfriend. A young guy who lit a candle earlier in the night, returned later to spend longer time in prayer and many who had not been in a church for a long time took up the invitation, lit a candle and said a little prayer.
Volunteers expressed a sense of joy and satisfaction in this unique experience. Our challenge is to see the goodness of our young adults shine through in the ordinary, everyday situations. Mol an Oige agus tiocfaidh se!
Further Nightfever events in Cork are scheduled for December 5, 2015 & February 20, 2016. For further information contact Lizzie at NET Ministry; email: Corknetteam@gmail.com, (0858404827m).