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St Mary's Mallow Transition Year Youth Gathering at Knock

"We are ambassadors for Christ" ~Theme for TY Youth Gathering in Knock.

Twenty six students from St Mary’s Mallow Secondary School, Co. Cork and their Religious Education teachers; Ms Carmel Curtin and Sr. Anne Maria headed on pilgrimage to Knock recently for a unique event to celebrate the Year of Faith.

For many of the students it was their first visit to this special holy place.

Over 3000 students gathered to be part of a day of prayer, reflection and celebration of faith. On arrival each school was directed to their place in the Basilica.

The opening hour was one of witnessing to the faith. One of the speakers, Ger Brennan who is a soccer goalkeeper from Galway spoke of his conversion experience at Knock where his faith became very important to him. He outlined how this awareness and relationship with God has made a huge difference in his life.

Sr.Anna from Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity spoke about her current work in Liverpool. Their home/convent is surrounded by nine nightclubs!

They are not short of dance music at night time! They could easily complain, grumble and be bitter about their noisy neighbours. Instead they have a presence in their chapel as the young people head to the clubs on weekend nights. They are gently invited to come in and light a candle.

The result has been amazing. The floor of their chapel at weekend nights gets walked on by lots of high heels, by people of no belief, by those who are searching and by those who would not normally get such a chance. They light a candle and can stay for as short or as long as they want.

The sacrament of reconciliation was available during lunchtime. After lunch the students did the Stations of the Cross.

Finally the Eucharist was celebrated by the Papal Nuncio and four other bishops as well as many priests. The Anointing of the Sick and Benediction was also part of the Mass.

There was a special treat for the students when they received a special message from Pope Francis encouraging them to be ambassadors for Christ.

Each student there received their own personal copy of YOUCAT (youth catechism) a rosary beads and the miraculous medal. We hope that these gifts will help to strengthen the faith of our students.

The students were very happy with their trip to Knock and many expressed how moved they were by the experience.

Stations of the Cross Procession at Knock