By Sean Ryan - 21 February, 2016
Former Gaelic footballer John McAreavey, whose wife Michaela was murdered while the couple were on honeymoon in Mauritius in January 2011, is to speak about his personal faith journey since the tragic loss of his wife as part of a faith festival at Knock Shrine next month.
‘Engaging the Heart’ is a free event on Saturday and Sunday 12-13 March, featuring a full programme of talks, workshops and a choral concert in Knock Basilica.
The theme of the weekend is ‘forgiveness, hope, healing and reconciliation’ and it has been organised to celebrate Pope Francis’ ‘Jubilee of Mercy’.
John McAreavey, whose uncle is the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, is to give a personal testimony at 11.45am on Saturday, 12 March, about his faith journey, including forgiveness, healing and hope, following the tragic death of Michaela.
Mr McAreavey is the co-founder of the Michaela Foundation, a youth orientated charity that promotes well-being and faith through summer camps for girls across Ireland.
Well-known Northern Ireland peace and reconciliation campaigner, Rev Ruth Patterson, will also speak at the event.
Rev Patterson is a Presbyterian minister and the director of Restoration Ministries, a non-denominational, Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
She was awarded an OBE in 2003 for her efforts in reconciliation and has authored four books and numerous articles stemming from her commitment to unity and peace.
Rev Patterson will deliver a talk and a workshop over the weekend.
Another highlight of the weekend is a free choral concert on Saturday evening at 7.30pm.
Choirs from across Ireland will join together in song and praise in the beautiful surrounds of the newly refurbished Knock Basilica.
Other faith events for the spring/summer season in Knock include workshops, seminars, talks and retreats, exploring a diverse range of faith topics – from Pope Francis’ writings on the environment to women’s spirituality, prayer and reflection, Christian decision-making, and the 1916 Rising.
Knock Shrine’s first series of faith renewal events was launched last autumn and proved very popular.
This latest series includes the return of the popular day of reflection and prayer, called ‘Quiet Days for Busy People’, which takes place on 5 March.
As well as the events on 12 and 13 March, the faith renewal series continues on 19 March when well-known Jesuit theologian and author, Fr Brian Grogan, will deliver a practical workshop on Christian decision-making.
On 7 April, there is an information evening on leading weekday liturgies for members of Parish Pastoral Councils.
Women’s spirituality is the focus of a weekend retreat, called ‘Women of the Well’, from 15 – 17 April.
Later that month, on 30 April, there is a major conference on climate change, featuring Ireland’s leading expert on climate science, Professor John Sweeney.
The final event in the series is a talk on May 14th looking at the Church and 1916. That same evening, the 1916 commemorations continue with a choral peace concert in the Basilica, featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
The concert is organised by the Mayo International Choral Festival.
For further information, please telephone (094) 93 88100 or email [email protected]