Knock Summer Youth Festival

23rd - 26th July 2009

The Knock Summer Youth Festival is for all people between the ages of 18-35 and from the sounds of things it shaping up to match that of Oxygen or Electric Picnic. 'This is the eighth year we've ran the Festival but this year more than ever there is a huge need for something like this' says 23 year old Helen Toner the main organiser of the event. She continued 'It's a time when everyone in Ireland feels like the church is in trouble and we need something to assure us, that there is a future for the church and there is hope' The theme of this years festival is 'You are the light of the world' and its aim is to encourage young people to get out there and let the light of faith shine out.

"A lot of young people in today's world and especially in the economic climate we're facing feel like they have nothing to offer or that they have no where to turn. We hope that the festival can show young people how much they have to give and encourage them to get switched on and plugged in" says Helen.

"The festival in Knock will run for four days. It is an opportunity to celebrate our faith and be proud to be Catholic". Over the four days there will be various talks on how young Catholics can explore and celebrate their faith. Talks, delivered by top theologians, will help young people explore their faith needs, their desires, their fears, their hurts and also to help them to get in touch with God and experience His love. Fr. Peter McVerry SJ, a Dublin priest who works with the homeless boys of Dublin will talk about our true Christian values and what he labelled 'the empty ideas' of the receding Celtic Tiger and promote instead 'radical solidarity' through the ideas of 'authentic Christianity'. "I would certainly agree that young people are the future of the church because they have idealism to bring about change not only in our Church but also in our society" said Fr. Mc Verry, SJ.

A new addition to this years festival are the workshops. The workshops will run over two days and will give people a choice of meeting God through various modern means such as meditation, drumming, guided prayers, art, clay and pottery, and even hip hop dancing with Don King dancer who has featured on RTE's Ballet Chancers. 'I think it's a great opportunity to show young people all the different ways there are to pray, to spend time with God and to express your faith' says Helen Toner.

"I would encourage all people aged 18-35 to come to Knock on the 23rd July and experience something different, this is one weekend of the summer when you can step out and take time for yourself'

'There will be huge marquees erected around the Shrine, one especially for the purpose of chilling out and chatting over a coffee, this weekend is one not to be missed this Summer' she finished.

The festival is €70 for the weekend; this includes all your food, accommodation and access to all talks, workshops and concerts. So all you need is your sleeping bag!

For more information contact the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre on 028 71264087 or email ddcc@derrydiocese.org or contact Knock directly on 0035394 9388100/ 00353 876927580.

You can book online at www.knock-shrine.ie/youthfestival

Helen Toner is available for interviews and can be contacted on: 0035394 9388100 or 00353 876927580