Bella star to speak at Walsingham Youth 2000

A Mexican actor who gave up a glittering Hollywood career for his faith is to address British teenagers for the first time at the annual Youth 2000 festival in Walsingham this weekend.

Eduardo Verastegui had starred in a boy band, Hollywood movies and even a video clip with J-Lo when he experienced a radical spiritual conversion that led him to turn back to his Catholic faith.

He abandoned a celebrity lifestyle to use his talents for God, refusing film roles that compromised his religious faith and founding 'Metanoia films', a company dedicated to producing movies with an upbeat message that promote virtue

In 2007, Verastegui's film 'Bella', the story of a young woman pondering an abortion, won the "People's Choice" prize at the Toronto Film festival. He also starred in the film.

An international speaker on pro-life issues, Verastegui will be talking about holiness and chastity to up to 1,500 British teenagers next Sunday, at the annual Youth 2000 festival.

He is one of a panel of inspiring speakers including Michelle Moran, a founding member of the Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism, and member of the Pontifical Council of the Laity. Michelle Moran will be speaking to the youth festival on the Holy Spirit. She is expected to remind the young people present that, quoting Pope Paul VI, we are 'living in a privileged era of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been poured into our lives so that we can grow in holiness and then in the spirit of Pentecost we can reach out to others and become agents of the new evangelisation.'

Noel Murphy, 31, National Director of Youth 2000, said: "We are delighted to welcome Eduardo Verastegui to this summer's prayer festival. He is an inspirational role model for young Catholics today. After reaching Hollywood and all the worldly achievements anyone could desire, he realised that this way of life wasn't fulfilling and that he needed something more. He has a radical message for the young people of today. Young people of this country need role models such as Eduardo. We invite any young people who are searching for something more to come to this year's festival." 

The five-day festival features talks, testimonies, dynamic prayer and worship, in the style of the popular World Youth Days led by Pope Benedict XVI. It will be the 18th International Festival of Prayer and Evangelisation organised by the Catholic youth initiative, Youth 2000.

Youth 2000 aims to provide a "gateway" back into the Church for those in their late teens and twenties who no longer practise their Catholic faith. At each of the six annual donation-only prayer festivals around the country, young people are introduced to the basics of Catholic faith and prayer. Funds are needed to finance this valuable event which is open to young people aged 16-30.

For more details visit:, or call the National Office on 07733 395 811.

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