“Fasting and Abstinence, during the year and particular during lent, are an integral part of our Catholic faith. The faithful practice of them means that body, heart and mind are fully engaged in prayer,” says Marie of the Catholic youth organisation, Youth 2000.
She says that Youth 2000 is known for organising retreats, but that there are also Youth 2000 prayer groups all over the country that meet each week – “coming together for prayer, fun, faith formation and community.” Father John Harris, OP, a long time friend and advisor of Youth 2000 has said of the movement: “The retreats are what we do, the prayer groups are who we are!”
“These prayer groups are a vital springboard into missionary activity and an impetus for young people to go deeper in their spiritual life; fasting and abstinence being a crucial part of this endeavour,” explains Marie.
Oliver Gallagher, a member of the thriving Youth 2000 Letterkenny prayer group and master of ceremonies at many their national events is example of one who has taken to a fasting and abstinence programme this Lent to deepen his prayer-life.
The programme is called Exodus 90, and it is a spiritual programme aimed at Catholic men in particular. “It is probably best described as 90 days of Lent with added asceticism,” says Oliver. Meeting up with other men during the programme is essential. He explains: “[W]hile prayer and fasting are of course at the forefront of the practice, it is being part of a community that is integral to its success. Fraternity is important for the men who do this exercise [Exodus 90] because we can help each other out and offer support and encouragement.”
Practices like Exodus 90, or its female counterpart, Fiat 90, foster a sense of solidarity. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “just as each of our bodies has several parts and each part has a separate function, so all of us, in union with Christ, form one body, and as parts of it we belong to each other.”
“All Christians need community and if you struggling with your Lenten obligations or want to pray in community then consider joining a prayer group near you”, encourages Maire. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org