Author of ‘Dead Man Walking’ Challenges Young Catholics of Ireland to walk by faith
Sr. Helen Prejean author of best-selling book ‘Dead man walking’ which led Susan Sarandon to scoop her first Oscar for portraying the role of Sr. Helen in the film, will travel to Knock Shrine on June 25th to address the 9th annual Knock Summer Festival.
At the festival, Sr.Helen will challenge young people to walk by faith.
The National Knock Summer Festival will take place from June the 25th-27th. The festival will see young people between the ages of 18-35 travel from every diocese in Ireland to explore, question, ignite and celebrate their faith.
Knock Shrine, not to be outdone by Electric Picnic or Oxygen, will host the festival in a youth village just below the Basilica. The youth village will include a main marquee which will host the main events. This marquee will be decked out with high tech lights, plasma screens, and top class production, it will also have a chill out café where festival goers can grab a cup of Fair-trade tea and coffee for as little as 50c a cup. The chill out will host open mic nights, acoustic sessions and quiet place to get away from it all. The festival goers will camp out in a marquee with airbeds meters away from where Our Lady appeared to the small village of people in 1879.
The weekend of the festival will have talks on ‘walking by faith and the challenges we face’, ‘Who is Jesus’ and ‘Faith in action’. Dr. Andrew O Connell is just one other of the speakers that will address the festival. Andrew (32) is the Communications Director for the Presentation Brothers. He holds a degree in science and a doctorate in chemistry from UCC. He is a columnist with The Irish Catholic and is a regular commentator on changes in Irish society today. Andrew will talk on what it means to walk by faith-
“With the Catholic Church embroiled in scandal, to call oneself a believer can be a challenge, especially among friends. In addition, at a time of rapid technological and scientific progress religious belief is often accused of being little more than comforting superstition” says Andrew. He will explain why religious belief and in particular Catholicism might be worth a second look.
A major part of the Summer Fest at Knock is opening up the process of prayer, ‘we have all been given individual gifts and talents and we should use these talents to glorify God, that is why we have so many workshops on what so might say are unusual ways to pray’ says Helen Toner (24) one of the main organisers of the event. -‘We do this by providing drum, dance, clay and pottery workshops. Don King an All-Ireland hip hop dancer will facilitate the dance workshop and he has been inspired by the scripture passage Psalm 149:3 ‘They shall dance in praise of His name’.
-“I think it is a challenging time in Ireland today for young people, not only with the church but with our economy, a lot of young people are unsure of their future, this is a chance to come away, take some time out and maybe get some of the answers they’ve been asking themselves” says Helen one of the main organisers.There is a strict no drinking rule over the weekend and instead of tripping in at the early hours of the morning after a good night out, festival goers will be encouraged to get up in the early hours to take part in the all night adoration. “The programme is pretty packed but everything on there is optional” emphasises Helen.
A session on the Sunday of the festival will see a slot called ‘The Panel’ a discussion based session where people from various walks of life will talk about their experience of church, community and parish in a bid to motivate the attendees of the festival to return home and get active in their own parish or dioceses.
For more information on the festival check out
“http://www.knock-shrine.ie/youthfestival“, or call (094) 9388100, 0876927850