Why do you like going on retreats?
I love the opportunity to take a break from my ordinary life and spend some dedicated time with God and meet like-minded people. For me, I feel it refreshes the soul. I always find God provides me with what I need, whether it is words of encouragement or just time to sit and relax.
What was your last retreat?
I was blessed to go and visit Cardiff for the latest Youth 2000 retreat. It was great, because I’d never been there before, so I got the opportunity to see another part of the country.
What was your favourite part of the retreat?
I loved the community feel and being with others who believe in God and have a desire to grow more in their faith. Also, growing in relationship with God as you would with any friend. The times of quiet, when I was able to sit with God in silence, were great too.
What sort of things do you do on a retreat?
Retreats are varied and they usually have themes. For example, the theme for the retreat in Cardiff was, ‘We have come’. Retreats are generally filled with singing and worship, times of prayer, showing you different ways that you can pray. There are also talks on various faith topics. Retreats have such a range of options for all people that you are bound to get new insight from the different experiences.
Do you go on your own?
You can go on your own and meet new people, or you can go with friends. Either way, you get to share your experiences with the others there. You also get to hear the ways God has blessed others. That is always so encouraging, to hear how God is blessing other people.
Is it expensive?
No. The Youth 2000 Cardiff retreat was donation-based, and this is their policy for their other retreats too. They have a suggested donation, but you can give according to your means.
Anything you find difficult?
For a shy person like me it can be scary to meet new people, but everyone there is so friendly and happy to talk to you and get to know you. You can meet some lovely friends there.
What kind of people go on retreats?
Anyone can go on a retreat; you don’t even have to be Catholic. It’s a great experience for anyone, as there is an opportunity for quiet for those who love times of silence and peace, and there are talks, worship and social times for those who love to socialise and make noise. Retreats so often have such great diversity.
What is the next retreat you are thinking of going on?
The next Youth 2000 retreat is from the 27–31 August, in Walsingham. In their words, it is “a five day Prayer Festival, packed with dynamic talks, live band worship, powerful prayer times, fun social activities, creative workshops, in-depth discussions, evening entertainment and loads more. With top speakers from the USA and all over the UK.”
What would you say to a young person going on a retreat?
I know how it might seem like you are stepping into the unknown, but do not let that put you off. I was unsure and hesitant about going, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and what I got out of it.