YOUTH 2000 began as a result of the Holy Father’s call at World Youth Day in 1989 in Compostella Spain for a decade of Evangelization of young people leading up to the New Millenium. A young Englishman, Ernest Williams, was inspired by the thought of having thousands of young people gathering around Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.
The first YOUTH 2000 Prayer Festival took place in 1990 in Medjugouje, and included 7000 young people from 24 countries. It was a resounding success. In 1992, YOUTH 2000 came to the US through the efforts of some of the participants of the original Prayer Festival. The first retreat was held in Dallas, Texas in June 1992 with 700 young people. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were among the preachers at the event. In the course of the year there were four or five more retreats.
In May of 1993, YOUTH 2000 came to New York. The first event in New York was held at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in the Bronx. Since that time, YOUTH 2000 NY has held monthly prayer festivals and has touched the lives of thousands of young people. YOUTH 2000 Prayer Festivals occur almost every week somewhere in the US. At present, YOUTH 2000 is active in the US, in England, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Panama, the West Indies, and has expanded into other countries in Europe and in Africa.
YOUTH 2000 Prayer Festivals in the US, in New York in particular, have been led by The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. This order of young priests and brothers has taken seriously the Gospel message to give all they have to the poor and to follow living in today’s world. YOUTH 2000 was invited by the World Youth day committee to lead Eucharistic Adoration at the World Youth Days in Manila in 1995, Paris in 1997, Rome in 2000, Toronto in 2002, Cologne in 2005, and in Sydney in 2008.
HOW IT HAPPENED LOCALLY
In 2003, a group of parents and youth attended the YOUTH 2000 at Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland. In 2005, the first YOUTH 2000 was held in Raleigh with over 600 participants. The following year the name was changed to JOHN 6:35 (scripture verse “I Am The Bread Of Life”) and continues in the YOUTH 2000 format serving young people throughout North Carolina.