I'm back at work today after what was an amazing weekend. This was my first retreat and it certainly won't be my last
My name is James Young and I'm 35. I wasn't born into a religious family and didn't practice anything until I met my girlfriend. She's from Ireland and a practicing Catholic. I started to attend mass with her about 5 and a half years ago, and felt like this was something I wanted to explore some more. My local parish has a wonderful church, but I just wasn't feeling empowered into the faith. My partner (now my fiancee) has attended Youth 2000 in Ireland and has been desperate to get me to one; this year it worked out and we both attended.
I was apprehensive of what to expect but the whole weekend has just blown me away. From the moment we arrived I felt something and felt welcome. I started to meet new friends from Friday morning, just stood chatting in the food queue. It was amazing to see so many Priests, Brothers and Sisters just talking to people, playing games and having fun. It was amazing at how open they were to talk to people and I found myself talking to few over the weekend. The talks that I attended were so honest and powerful; I was gripped to every word, but my highlight was Sunday night with Pippa and the Holy Spirit. I was just so amazed with what I witnessed and can't explain it apart from it was the Holy Spirit.
I was stood there praying for the Holy Spirit to come to me, but I was also aware I didn't want to force anything. I received my first blessing and nothing happened. I prayed harder and my second blessing arrived, as the person left me I just started to cry, it was an uncontrollable sobbing. I managed to stop and just stood there watching the Holy Spirit take people in different ways. I received a third blessing and just dropped to my knees sobbing again and truly felt that Jesus had accepted me and welcomed me into the faith; because of this and the whole weekend I will be speaking to my parish priest about getting baptised into the faith. I truly believe that God put my fiancee into my life and we attended this weekend for that reason.
So thank you from the bottom of my very grateful heart for a truly spiritual weekend. I feel energised with the Holy Spirit and grateful for the time spent in Walsingham with everyone.
So please pass on my thanks to everyone that put time and effort into the weekend, to all the people who talked to us in the Throne Room, to all the Priests, Brothers and Sisters and the whole team. I will pray for you and for all forthcoming retreats and I look forward to attending next year's.
Again I feel so blessed and grateful for what was a truly amazing weekend.