Reflections of the Knock Festival from 2009


I am going to tell you all about a special weekend that I will never forget. Thursday 23rd July-Sunday 26th July 2009 in Knock.  The person who took me to the youth festival was Yvonne Murray Youth Coordinator for the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre. We left Derry at 12:15pm, we met up with a few others in Omagh on our way down who were also going to Knock, we all stopped for something to eat.  We arrived in Knock at 17:00pm. When we arrived there we all checked out our marquees which would be home for the next 3 nights. The type of beds that they were using were air beds. The air beds were very comfortable to sleep in I rate them 10/10. Registration opened at 6.00pm and we all got ourselves signed in at that time, they gave us out a wristband, name badge and a weekend pack that was very useful. Behind us more people were arriving, the queues were getting longer by the minute. We all checked out the chill out café. The chill cafe out was a new addition from the previous youth festival in 2008. The chill out café was specially designed for meeting new people, relaxing, having a bit of fun and playing games. We all stayed there for 2 hours. The chill out café was well equipped they had seating with comfortable chairs, games, CD stands to buy music, John Paul II Award stand and a stage for bands.  I introduced myself to other people there and they were all talking away to me. There were people from all over the island who were all chatting away to each other.  The festival kicked of at 8.00pm in the rest and care centre. At 10:00pm in the chill out café they had music. I got to meet more people from all over Ireland.

Friday 24th July 2009 breakfast began at 09.00am at the food marquee. The Christian rock band Elation performed over that weekend. Elation was very popular with the audience. Elation got the audience to join in and sing with them.  Elation got a standing ovation when they finished performing. Over the weekend we had workshops that people could choose from. Here is a list of some  that I am going to tell you about.

(1) Drumming that was run by the Psalm Drummers. I did this Worksop.

(2) Mind, Body Mediation that was ran by Fr. Louis Hughes I did that one it was my personal favourite.

(3)If you like dancing this is a must do the hip hop workshop was ran by Don King. Don Kings Hip Hop band performed on the Friday night these guys were unbelievable! There timing was brilliant they did not get anything wrong everything was done to perfection. To see and appreciate how much athleticism that they can do is incredible 10/10 for me. I never saw anything like that done before Don King and his hip hop band were probably given the biggest standing ovation over the youth festival. The reaction they got was unbelievable.  In the chill out café they had a stand for selling Cd's and their workshop was one of the most popular out of all the workshops that was ran over the weekend.

And now to our guest speakers- Fr. Peter Mc Verry has worked with Dublin's Young Homeless for 30 years.

Steve Murray completed his training in Los Angeles at the Mimeistry International School Of Mime And Bible he studied under Todd Farley. Steve Murray did run a workshop in Mime and technique.

Overall the guest speakers were very educational 10/10.

The catering was top class there was a lot to choose from. Well  done to the catering staff who were always up at 06:00am preparing 3 meals a day which was attended by 500 people each time. Congratulations for feeding the five thousand  10/10.

Christopher Stefanick is a massive spiritual speaker he has tons of years of experience and he was the Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry for La Crosse. He is the current Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver Colorado.  Christopher Stetanick took a workshop on love and relationships.

The program schedules over the 4 days were very well organised and always on time.  Knock had a very special welcome feeling when entering which I thought was touching.  The atmosphere had a special feeling to it. It was the whole buzz of making new friends sitting in the chill out café having a bit of fun with people and also spending time with them all which was  special.  Not only did I meet people from all over Ireland I also met different nationalities which I though was really cool I met people from Nigeria, The Philippines, Poland and France. To sit down and get to know people from different countries was a great experience. You share each others cultures, lifestyles, hobbies/interests and music they all seemed very friendly welcoming people.

One of the highlights of the youth festival is the Reconciliation Evening in the Reconciliation Chapel. This service has an extremely special atmosphere to it. The service was hosted by Fr. Benny Mc Hale. He was talking about the power of confession and what it can achieve for you. Moments into the service the individual confession and healing service began. Elation performed at the service and it all made me realise something for a moment - listening to their music had a lot of emotion to it. That  service will be the one that I will never forget.

 The last day - final encounter- I had breakfast one last time with a few friends of mine. We had a talk at 10:00am with Bishop Mc Keown. After that we were all told to go to our diocesan groups for a  meeting.  I was part of the Derry Diocese, the meeting was hosted by Yvonne Murray. Half way through the meeting she asked for a volunteer to represent the Derry Diocese in the final Mass at the Basilica in the candle vigil. Each diocese from Ireland had a representative and I volunteered to do it.  I felt honoured and proud to carry the candle for everyone that I know, family and friends everyone back in the Derry diocese -Co. Derry, Co Donegal and Co. Tyrone. The Mass got a great attendance, it had a special closure to it.

After that we headed back to the food marquee for the final lunch. I sat and had my lunch with a few friends of mine. After when the lunch was over I looked around and people were saying their farewells to each other which was very touching you feel kind of emotional.  I did my farewells which were very emotional for me. I got flashbacks over the last few days of making new friends and having the time of my life. I am going to share a very special message for the friends I made in Knock. It was an honour and a privilege getting to know you all over the weekend. I hope to keep in contact with you all for many years to come. I will always cherish the memoires, you are all great people, thank you for all your love and respect God Bless. You will all never be forgotten and you've earned a place in my heart.

I would like thank Helen Toner and her organisation team- Knock Youth Ministry, the security team, workshop hosts, Elation for their music, the guest speakers, catering staff, priests and many more.  I will defiantly be back again for Knock 2010 the 9th annual summer youth festival.  Next year I hope to help out as a volunteer. I recommend doing this weekend it is worth every single penny you will all have the time of your life.  The Knock summer youth festival 2009 weekend will be a weekend that no one will ever forget the memories will always live on for many years to come.