Friday, 4 September 2009

A Taste of The Youth2000 Retreat at Walsingham

The tent filling up with young people

When we go on retreat at Walsingham with Youth2000, there is a sense of being removed from the world and what is going on in it. A complete absence of radio, TV. newspapers, internet and so on. Separated from so much that can distract our attention, we are freed to focus on the Presence of Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, exposed throughout the retreat.
This Presence brings a profound sense of joy, lifting our hearts closer to His own; we only have to open our hearts and invite Him in.
The Blessed Sacrament has the power to heal wounded hearts, hearts in which old ills fester, hearts which have grown lukewarm, hearts which are divided between the things the world can offer and the life that God offers.

The Blessed Sacrament, exposed throughout the retreat.

Many young people find in the Healing Service a moment of great and life-changing Grace.During the Healing Service, the Blessed Sacrament is processed among the people and we are invited to touch the humeral, asking Jesus to heal us, just as the Gospels tell us, He healed the woman who touched his garment,some 2000 years ago.

Rev. Charlie Conner, a Permanent Deacon of the Leeds Diocese, officiating at the Healing Service

Looking around at the hundreds of young people who came to Walsingham, there is a great sense of hope for the future Church; as the Holy Father says " The Church is alive, the Church is young!"

About twenty priests from different dioceses in the UK, were in attendance. They all give so generously, their valuable time to this work of evangelisation.Many say how much these retreats help to renew their Priesthood. One priest told me that it had transformed his own Priesthood.
Youth2000 retreats could not happen without the generous support and presence of priests; in fact, without priests there would be no retreats, and no Church either.
But they need the support of our prayers, and this year, the Year for Priests, seems a good opportunity to acquire the habit of praying regularly for the Priesthood and for vocations to the Priesthood or Religious Life.As Fr. Stephen Langridge,Vocations Director for Southwark says, there is no shortage of vocations, but God's call is not always heard.
With that in mind, I had been trying to find a statue of St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, to help remind us to seek his intercession, but without success.

However, the day after we arrived home, there came in the post...a statue of St.John Vianney!
My niece bought it for us when she was in Lourdes recently. Thank you Poppy!

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