YOUTH 2000 to welcome Leah Darrow, Fr. Stephen DeLacy
Note: As of March 8, 2022, Fr. Stephen DeLacy, Vicar for the Office of Faith Formation for Youth and Young Adults from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be one of the special guests at YOUTH 2000, replacing Fr. Nathan Cromly.
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
This March, the annual Eucharist-centered youth retreat, YOUTH 2000, will celebrate its 25th anniversary, and welcome two special keynote speakers.
Lisa Bivins coordinator of YOUTH 2000 and treasurer of the Marian Shrine Committee of the Diocese of Owensboro, said the March 11-13 retreat will feature Leah Darrow, a Catholic speaker and author; and Fr. Nathan Cromly, CSJ, the president of Saint John Institute in Colorado.
Youth 2000 is an international organization whose United States’ office is based in Dallas. The western Kentucky YOUTH 2000 is the longest-running one of its kind in the country. The retreat is cosponsored by the Diocese of Owensboro’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Bivins said Fr. Cromly came in the early years of western Kentucky’s YOUTH 2000 retreats, and so the committee was happy to bring him back for their 25th anniversary. Darrow is friends with YOUTH 2000 committee member Mary Katherine Wathen.
“The foundation of YOUTH 2000 is to build leaders for the future,” said Bivins in a Feb. 10 phone call with The Western Kentucky Catholic. She said Darrow will give her testimony, which includes Darrow’s conversion experience while participating in America’s Next Top Model.
Bivins said Fr. Cromly leads a program for business people to merge their business life with their Catholic faith.
Additionally, “he leads retreats for young people to give them direction in their life,” she said. “He is so joyful about the Gospel message for young people and how they can change the world.”
Miraculously, YOUTH 2000 has been able to prevail even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. YOUTH 2000 in 2020 took place March 6-8, right before the pandemic took the United States by storm. In July 2021, after necessary delays and much prayer and discussion, YOUTH 2000’s 24th-annual retreat took place.
Wathen said it was a “God thing” when she found out that Darrow would be available for the weekend of 2022’s YOUTH 2000. She looks forward to Darrow speaking to the needs of 21st-century teens.
“She has a very inspiring story,” said Wathen. “There is always hope, and it’s never too late. We all have made mistakes at one point in our lives – but there is God’s mercy.”
Wathen said she remembers attending YOUTH 2000 as a teen: “Now I’m 40 years old with six kids of my own!”
She said attending YOUTH 2000 “planted seeds that have lasted the rest of my life.”
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YOUTH 2000 will take place on March 11-13, 2022 at Brescia University.
Originally printed in the March 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.