Knights host novel retreat day for young adults in Lough Derg

30 Apr, 2024 | Church, News

On 27 April, the Knights of Columbanus hosted its first ever retreat day for young adults in Lough Derg, Co Donegal, in the diocese of Clogher.  Over thirty pilgrims in their 20s and 30s, attended the retreat on the theme of  ‘Taking Time Away‘.  Lough Derg, has been a sanctuary associated with Saint Patrick since the fifth century.

The day included a inspiring presentation by a youth group from Derry, and a personal reflection shared by former GAA Tyrone county footballer Stephen O’Neill.  While there were times for group prayer and reflection, there was also time for participants to have space to themselves in the peaceful surroundings of this historic pilgrimage island.

Monsignor Joseph McGuinness celebrated Mass for the pilgrims in the Saint Patrick’s Basilica, which is located on the island, where he reflected on the example of Christ, who Himself sought time away, alone or with his close disciples, to pray to the Father and to refresh Himself for His ministry.  Monsignor McGuinness noted how the monks of the ancient monastery at Lough Derg used the small island as their retreat centre, and that  young people of today were following in their footsteps, as well as the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims who had come to Lough Derg over the last 1500 years.  Monsignor McGuinness also stressed the importance of finding time for quiet prayer and reflection, not only at special times like this, but also in the course of each day as these moments helps us find strength in bearing witness and joy in giving service.

Addressing the pilgrims directly Monsignor McGuinness said, “Let us pray that this day will give all of you fresh heart and fresh hope when you return to the ‘outside world’ with all its noise, bustle and stress, and help you to be ever more aware of the presence of Jesus with you, as the friend who walks with you, understands all your struggles and burdens, and looks on you always with love.”

Participants provided positive feedback on this day-long retreat and it is hoped that similar pilgrimages will be organised in the future.  To obtain information about various types of retreats available on Lough Derg, please visit, email [email protected] or call +353 (0) 71 9861518.



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