How can we get teenagers to go to Mass, remain active in their faith and develop their commitment to Christ and the Church?
Here, I propose one effective answer: Youth 2000. Youth 2000 is a group run for and by young people. Their annual August prayer festival in Walsingham is the largest gathering of young Catholics in the country. They also run several other festivals around the country over the year. Each is a Eucharist centred weekend combining perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with daily Mass, Confession, healing services, praise and worship, prayer sessions including the Rosary, talks from internationally-renowned Catholic speakers, discussion groups, and – no less importantly – a chance to make new friends. It has proved to be a very successful recipe for getting young people excited about Jesus and the Church’s mission.
What do young people want? What are they looking for? Love is the answer. They are searching for something all-consuming. At Youth 2000 events young people have such an intimate experience of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that real conversions happen. They are touched by his love in a transforming way. The teachings of the Church challenge them. They come into contact with other young people who have an active and lively faith, which inspires them.
There is justified worry that the number of Catholic baptisms, marriages and ordinations have fallen significantly over recent decades. What is the problem? A crisis in vocation? Not at Youth 2000. In its 25 year history, over 100 men ordained to the Catholic priesthood testify that Youth 2000 has played an important role in the discernment of their vocation. Father Frankie is one of those. I am aware of many Catholic married couples who met through Youth 2000. My husband and I are one of those.
This works. This really helps young people to take ownership of their faith and live it. If you care about my first questions, please help! Pray for Youth 2000, invite someone you know in the 16-35 age-group to attend a Youth 2000 event, and consider whether you might have something as small as £1 a month to donate regularly to Youth 2000. Youth 2000 is addressing the spiritual poverty which Mother Teresa regarded as even more serious than material poverty, here, at home in the UK, and it needs your support.
Thank you! Terrenia Morley
(I live in Hurst Green with my husband and two children. I am a part-time GP in Blackburn)