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How I found Jesus

I'm an eighteen-year-old A Level student in England and I've always been a Catholic. My parents are Catholics so, naturally, I was brought up to be one too. I always went to Church and I would tell people proudly that I was a Catholic, but I didn't really know - or care - much about my faith. Then a couple of years ago, I stopped going to mass. I told myself I'd go to the evening mass so I could have a lie in, but I never went - I'd always find an excuse not to go.

This carried on for quite a while, I only ever went to church at Easter and Christmas, though, however lapsed, I'd still proudly tell people I was a Catholic and argue for my faith, even if I wasn't acting like one in my daily activities.

During this period, the time came for me to do my Confirmation. I did it with my sister, too scared to do it on my own, and didn't really put much thought into it. I felt obligated to do it - not because people were making me - but because if I didn't do it, I'd feel guilty and I'd probably never get round to doing it another time, particularly since that would mean doing it on my own. I didn't take in what was said in the meetings, didn't choose a sponsor or a saint's name because it meant something to me spiritually, simply because I liked a certain name and it was easy to choose a certain person as my sponsor, since it was my older sister.

Nothing changed after my Confirmation. I carried on the way I was, not really thinking much about my faith.

I'd heard my sisters talking about Youth 2000 several times. They had both been and had both come back seriously considering a vocation to religious life. I think this is what scared me the most about Youth 2000 - I desperately didn't want to come back wanting to be a nun. My sister explained to me that God wouldn't give me that vocation unless it was right for me, but I wasn't convinced.

With Youth 2000 Walsingham coming up (the biggest Youth 2000 event in England), my sister, unbeknown to me, began to pray for me, fast for me - the whole works. I can't believe how much it took, but it got me there in the end!

I was really apprehensive about going to Walsingham, even after I'd agreed. Having said that, though, I did enjoy the praying that we did on the coach on the way - it really got me feeling like I was holy!

The atmosphere was so great, with all the young people and the funky Friars of the Renewal, the fantastic music (I come from a parish that barely sings!) - it was all great! I wasn't so into Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the time, I didn't know how to talk to God, but I really feel that it was through the Blessed Sacrament and everything else that went on at Youth 2000 that changed me forever. I learned what it was like to really worship God!

The Healing Ceremony was another thing there that really had a big impact on me. I was amazed at people's reactions - at how they were crying and how people just couldn't take their eyes off Jesus. I remember that then, and every Healing I've experienced since then, I felt God's prescence so much that I just wanted to break down in tears because I'm so unworthy of God and his love.

Ever since then, I've become a better person. Yes, I still sin and I'm not the best example of a Xian, but I am changed and I'm falling in love with Jesus more and more all the time.

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