The youth 2000 Summer Prayer Festival in Walsingham is always something I look forward to. It’s the perfect way to end summer and press reset on everything before going back to work. This year was no different; simply put it’s a time of great joy. A time with friends, and Jesus. I can’t ask for much more than that. There are great talks, workshops and small groups that go on throughout the week long retreat, but it’s not those alone that make the time so special. It’s all of it together, and having Adoration 24 hours a day for the entire retreat is something that can’t be replaced by anything in the world. I spend the summer trying to fill my life with excitement - running, cycling, hiking, but as much as I enjoy those things none of them match up to the joy of sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. None of those things press reset in my life quite the way the Youth 2000 retreat does.

 Which is why when I get the opportunity to head to London for the Youth 2000 New Year retreat - I can’t say no. I don’t go for the fireworks, the night out, the midnight celebrations on the Thames. I go for the great workshops, talks, small groups and Adoration - 24 hours a day for the whole retreat. It can be difficult telling people I’m off to London for New Year and not seeing the fireworks, but instead will be in Mass at the stroke of midnight ready and waiting to receive our saviour Jesus, who comes for each of us. It’s that magical moment in a packed school hall that draws me to London for New Year every year, not the fireworks. I would urge anyone to consider doing the same. Each time I go to a Youth 2000 retreat, I leave having learned something new, about myself, my faith, my friendships, my relationship with God. I leave a changed person, and I’ve never heard anyone say that about a fireworks display.

Richard Teasdale, 23, Workington

Youth 2000 seeks to draw young people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, lived at the heart of the Catholic Church. The next retreat is over the New Year - 29th Dec 2015 - 1st Jan 2016. All details can be found at:!behold/cods