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First Mount 2000 Since 2020 Draws Large Crowd

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Mount 2000 concert

This past weekend, the Mount welcomed nearly 1,000 eighth graders and high schoolers to campus for the 22nd annual Mount 2000 retreat and conference. This was the first Mount 2000 since 2020, and the retreatants, speakers, priests and seminarians who participated were eager to finally hold the event again.

mount-2000-2023-4.jpeg“The retreat has a theme each year, and this year is kenosis, which means emptying, emptying ourselves to make room for God the way Christ emptied himself for us,” shared Sean O’Connor, the Mount seminarian in charge of the planning committee.

Retreatants gathered each day to hear four talks on the theme, as well as participate in Mass and Adoration, and attend confession and a praise and worship concert. This year’s speakers were Sr. Michaela Martinez, O.P.; Annie McHugh; the Rev. Mark Rutherford, J.C.L.; and Jeremy Rivera. Bishop James Golka of the Diocese of Colorado Springs celebrated Sunday Mass.

Mount 2000 began, as the name suggests, in 2000, as a retreat for high school students who were going to be confirmed in the spring. Over the years, it evolved into a general retreat to help students become active in their home parishes and share faith in their schools.

mount-2000-2023-procession.jpegIt’s hosted by Mount St. Mary’s seminarians, who organize finances, schedules, speakers, sleeping quarters, and youth safety, and act as small-group guides to participants. “It really puts seminarians in leadership roles that they might not have otherwise, that are so helpful for parish life,” noted O’Connor.

Undergraduate volunteers help with controlling the crowd, setting up housing and mealtimes, and supervising the retreatants. This year, the seminary planning committee even enlisted the help of an intern, Patricia Cain, C’24, a business major with a concentration in marketing and minors in psychology and human services, to help advertise the event.

The weekend retreat has become quite popular, drawing an average of 1,000 participants from several states. Teens mount-2000-2023-2.jpegcame to Mount 2000 from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore, as well as the Dioceses of Wheeling-Charleston, Harrisburg and Arlington.

Despite the challenges of hosting such a large-scale event, the seminarians and the wider Mount community consider Mount 2000 a blessing. They see it as a chance to continue the Catholic mission of the University and welcome people from the surrounding area to campus—a perfect way to put the Mount’s mission to help students live “in service to God and others” into action.

To learn more about Mount 2000, visit

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19