Record numbers at Walsingham Youth 2000 first posted 6 September 2004

 A record number of young people gathered in Walsingham for the 13th Youth 2000 Prayer Festival over the Bank Holiday weekend - in spite of very changeable weather - deluges one minute - hot sunshine next.

More than 1,200 took part in the four-day event - many of them camping in giant tents.

The festival included Masses, prayer, praise and rosary sessions, talks, workshops, a performance of a new musical 'Rock of the Anointed, discussion groups and parties.

Faith was God's answer to the world's spiritual darkness, Bishop Arthur Roche said during his Sunday Mass homily. "Stay close to Christ and you will form part of his answer to the desperate needs of this world, a world that is searching for the love of Jesus."

He said: "Listen to the word of God. It is as life-giving now as it was 2,000 years ago. If you want to get to know Jesus personally, each day listen to him prayerfully."

During one talk, human rights campaigner James Mawdsley spoke of his own conversion experience in a Burmese prison. Jailed for staging a pro-democracy protest, initially he hated the guards who had tortured him. Later after he began to read the Bible he befriended many of them. He said: "I learnt that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance brings hope and love."

Many young families came to the festival this year, and activities for children, including arts, crafts and games, as well as a junior liturgy were held in the Kids Zone.

Twenty four young people travelled to Walsingham from Germany - among them Stephanie Zeizfelder and Margarete Eirich from Wurtsburg. Margarete said: "We are so happy to be here. It is good to meet other young Catholics and to share our faith together. We are all now very much looking forward to World Youth Day in Cologne."

We hope to be posting up more reports from festival-goers later in the week. For more information on Youth 2000 visit or click through from our Links pages.

© Independent Catholic News 2004

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