You may have been to several Youth 2000 retreats, and they may have helped you to deepen your faith and grow in your relationship with the Lord. The period of time during which young people attend retreats is often very blessed. It can be a period of real conversion and growth, repenting from sin and learning to live more faithfully as a disciple of Christ.
During this time, much may have changed in your life. You may have started praying each day, going to Mass every Sunday and even during the week, and going to Confession regularly. You may also have changed your lifestyle, as you begin to live more faithfully within the Church.
It is important to thank God continually for our conversion. We also need to grow deeper into our relationship with God and discover the unique plan he has for our life. While Youth 2000 is a gateway into the Church, we need to discover the other opportunities offered to us by the Church which will help us in our calling to holiness.
Everyone is very different and comes to Christ in a unique way. This is reflected in the diverse array of movements there are in the Church. There are many new, ecclesial movements which help lay people follow Christ more closely in their daily lives. Here are just a few that you may wish to explore further: Communion and Liberation, the Neocatechumenal Way, Opus Dei, Focolare and Regnum Christi. There are also new religious orders which have a close relationship with Youth 2000 and offer ongoing formation for young people, including the Community of St Jean and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
There are also many formation courses offered in the Church. For example, St Patrick’s Evangelisation School is an invitation to young people to take a year out of their life to live in community with other young people, receive a year of teaching and formation in the faith, and begin putting this into practice through active evangelisation and service.
In your late teens and twenties, discerning the call God has for you should be a top priority. There are many groups in the Church which offer guidance and support to young people discerning whether God might be calling them to the priesthood, religious life, apostolic celibacy or marriage. An example is Quo Vadis which is a group which meets monthly in London for prayer, catechesis and fellowship. For more information, go to www.southwarkvocations.com. For general information on vocations, you can go to the National Office of Vocation.
A vital aid in your journey to holiness is a spiritual director. This is someone, usually a priest or a religious, you meet with regularly (often monthly), with whom you discuss your life and how you are putting your faith into practice in your everyday life. A spiritual director is often extremely helpful to young people who are discerning their vocation and how wish to deepen their prayer life. It is a good idea to ask a priest or religious you know well whether he/she would meet you to discuss whether they could give you spiritual direction.
As you begin to discover the plan God has for your life, and your unique way of living within the Church, you may be able to offer something back to Youth 2000. Youth 2000 is all about peer ministry which means that young people are at the heart of running the prayer festivals. Even if you are slightly older, you may be able to help in other areas such as security or catering. You may also be able to donate regularly to Youth 2000. Please contact the National Office if you are able to help in any way.