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Prayers for Barcelona at youth festival

By Susan Gately - 19 August, 2017

The Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan offered Mass yesterday for the victims and families of the attacks in Barcelona, Spain at the Youth 2000 Summer Festival in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

“It was with great sadness, and with utter disbelief, that I heard the news of the attacks in Barcelona which have so far has left 14 people dead. [They were] families, and young people, spending their leisure time together. [This] in a sacred space and one that produces life-long cherished memories,” he told around 1,200 young people gathered for the annual festival. “This was a deliberate and violent attack on a peaceful setting where people were simply celebrating love and friendliness. And God is love.”

The Bishop offered his heartfelt condolences to the people of Barcelona and Spain and asked the young people to remember those affected in their prayers.

The festival began on Thursday at the Cistercian College at Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, and runs until Sunday. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Come Closer, Hear my Word’. Bishop Monahan spoke at 12.15 Mass yesterday.

In his talk, Bishop Monahan spoke of the apparition of Our Lady at Knock, whose feast day was celebrated on Thursday. “The core of the apparition of Knock is the appearance of Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John on the left hand side and a depiction of an Altar, the Lamb and Cross on the right hand side depicting the Eucharist or the Mass, the central and most sacred prayer or sacrifice of our faith,” the Bishop explained to the young people, who were aged from 16 to 35.

It was a silent apparition, but the fact that Our Lady said nothing paradoxically spoke volumes, he said.

Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe

Coming to the youth festival, the young people took themselves away from their ordinary routines “to go on retreat and pray” he explained. “Here you rest a while from the wonderful but sometimes chaotic and very noisy world that we live in. During these great few days you get a chance to explore anew your faith.”

Referring to a number of masters of spiritual life like Meister Eckhart, St Augustine and the Curé of Ars, the bishop of Killaloe appealed to the young people to meet God in silence. Cardinal Sarah from Africa has written about this in his book: The Power of Silence – Against a Dictatorship of Noise, which the Bishop read this summer. 

“The main message of the book is that in the world we live in we are bombarded with noise of every type. Much of that is good but there is so much of it that we rarely get time to draw a breath and reflect in silence … According to the author Cardinal Sarah, for our well-being – spiritual and otherwise – we need many periods of silence, calm and inner quiet and prayer in order to be able to recollect ourselves and to be able to enter into genuine communication with God in prayer.”

The Bishop concluded: “Sometimes we search for fulfilment and happiness and the satisfaction of our deepest needs in all sorts of external pathways and avenues, not realising that the answer is often within.”

The Youth 2000 festival involves workshops, masses, drama, games and social events. Guest speakers include Fr Patrick Cahill, the National Spiritual Adviser of Youth 2000 Ireland, and Fr Shane Sullivan. Youth 2000 was established in response to Pope John Paul II’s call to young people at World Youth Day in 1989 to bear witness to the faith.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Barcelona attack, a Prayer for Hope and Peace has been posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Dublin:

Heavenly Father, I am your humble servant. I come before you today in need of hope. I need hope for a calm and joyful future. I need hope for love and kindness. I pray for peace and safety. Some say that the sky is at its darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for today seems stormy and dim. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light. Help me to walk in your light, and live my life in faith and service. In your name I pray, Amen.

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