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Youth 2000 in Walsingham: 'an awesome opportunity'
Monday 3rd September 2012

Thomas Starkie (Aged 16) from the Manchester Ordinariate Group writes:

From 23-27 August, hundreds of young Catholics congregated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk. Although this involved hours of travelling to reach the fairly isolated site, being drenched in rain, squelching through mud, and camping in fields, it was not for nothing that these people came together. We sought hope and healing, knowledge and truth, and, for most of us, if not all of us, what we found far exceeded our expectations. This was the Youth 2000 Searchlight Prayer Festival.

As we met each morning for the Rosary, after breakfast, we dedicated each day to Our Lady before hearing a talk on topics such as "Who is Jesus?" and "The Lost are Found", which we then took to our small groups. These informative and faith-enriching presentations gave us a focus for our discussion as we explored our faith and got to know each other more. We also attended a variety of workshops throughout the weekend, finding it very hard to choose between the available options as they were all so good! One workshop was entitled "Grill the Bishop", with Bishop Mark Davies - we were blessed with his presence during the retreat, as we were with the presence of all the clergy and religious there, and especially the Ordinariate members among us by the presence of the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.

The daily Mass, and services of reconciliation and healing, along with the sessions of praise and worship formed the centre of the retreat, with exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continuously throughout the weekend. As the festival drew to a close, many people spoke in testimony about the graces and blessings that they had received; many mentioned particularly the Healing Service and the continuous opportunity for Confession.

The whole weekend was a great blessing, a profound experience, and an awesome opportunity for young people to draw closer to God and strengthen their faith.

Editor's Note: Youth 2000 seeks to draw young people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, lived at the heart of the Catholic Church. It does this primarily through weekend prayer festivals, where young people are introduced to the essentials of the Catholic faith: Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, scripture, devotion to Our Lady. These festivals are opportunities for young people to experience the love of God, to receive the grace of conversion and to begin living anew the Christian life.

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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
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