Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Walsingham Youth 2000

At the weekend I went to the Youth 2000 pilgrimage at Walsingham, with the intention of recharging my spiritual batteries before returning to seminary. It was a wonderful couple of days, spent catching up with people, prayer, and talks. This year Eduardo Varastegui, a Mexican actor and producer of the pro-life film Bella, spoke of his conversion from an immoral Hollywood lifestyle to a life spent trying to glorify God through his talents. He said that through the constant questioning of his English teacher, he came to realise that he was not living as if he believed in God, or as if he believed that his body was a temple of the Holy Spirit. He decided then to reject all film offers that compromised his faith, his family, or his latino culture (which he said had suffered sever stereotyping in Hollywood). Because of this resolution, he had no work for four years, and it was not until his spiritual director suggested he produce his own films that he found a way of influencing the film scene. His film Bella, which won the Toronto film festival, has a strong pro-life story, and has so far caused at least one hundred women to cancel their abortion appointments and have their child. Eduardo plans to produce more films promoting the dignity of the human person, including a life of Mother Teresa.

During his testimony his humility came across particularly - he was evidently nervous addressing so many young people, and he was also choked with tears of gratitude for what had happened in his life. May his work bear great fruit, and help to build what John Paul II called the 'civilisation of love.'

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