Comment from Understand The Times:
ugust 27 - Youth 2000 offers gateway back to God
A group of young people, many of whom would not be out of place in a trendy nightclub, are becalmed in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, deep in contemplative prayer, magnetised towards Jesus. The holy rosary is recited and there are priests hearing Confessions all around. This is not a typical model of Catholic youth ministry in Britain and yet Youth 2000 marks its 20th birthday this year with an abundance of fruits to celebrate since its founder, Ernest Williams, had a vision of young people around the world adoring the Eucharist and founded the lay evangelisation initiative in 1990.
This is one example of the daring of an organisation with a very simple message that has transformed the lives of thousands of young people: the power and healing of Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.
he devotion that was popularised by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century has caused a ripple that has spread outwards to young people in Britain who have been brought back to friendship with Jesus, active involvement in the Church and to evangelisation of their non-Christian and non-practising friends.
"We encourage people to pray silently and deeply before the Blessed Sacrament," says the Youth 2000 website. "In our day-to-day lives we are surrounded by the TV, music and mobile phones beeping. The silence allows people to focus on deepening their relationship with God - for us to speak to Him, and for Him to speak to us."
Youth 2000's mission statement is to give young people aged between 16 and 25 a gateway back to God. The website is written to appeal to a young audience. Praying to Our Lady is a way of being "whisked to God" while praise and worship is a "hymn gym". The weekly prayer groups convened around the country are places to "chill out not freak out".
For many the experience of praying the rosary for the first time is visceral. "I had never prayed a rosary before Youth 2000," says one. "But I soon realised it was Our Lady leading me back to Christ."
At the 1989 World Youth Day, Pope John Paul II said: "You young people have in a special way the task of witnessing today to the faith; the commitment to bring the Gospel of Christ - the Way, the Truth and the Life - into the third Christian Millennium, to build a new civilisation, a civilisation of love, of justice and of peace."
Monday, August 30, 2010
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