Over 1,000 young people gathered in Tipperary at the weekend for four days of faith, fun and friendship.
The retreat took place in the stunning grounds of Cistercian College in Roscrea from August 17 to 20 where it has been held for the last five years. The gathering is the biggest annual retreat for young people in Ireland aged 16 to 35.
The grounds of the school were filled with young people from all four provinces who came to spend time learning more about their Catholic faith. The retreat was organised by Youth 2000 Ireland, a peer-lead initiative charged with the mission of “youth leading youth to the heart of the Church”.
The retreat was packed with inspiring talks and speakers, praise and worship sessions, small group discussions, lively Masses, Confessions and prayer with plenty of time for socialising and developing friendships over a cup of tea.On Friday evening Bishop Fintan Monahan from the Killaloe diocese celebrated Holy Mass with the young people. Emma Moran, 26, from Roscrea, was 17 when she attended her first Youth 2000 retreat. She said: “I saw a whole new side to the Church and my faith. I came from a Catholic background of going to Mass every Sunday and just waiting for the thirty minutes to end so I could say I'd gone.“Youth 2000 retreats are not the stereotypical sit, stand, respond. People are dancing and singing and laughing. From the moment you go in everyone is so genuinely happy. There's no falseness at all. “The friendships you make are different from the ones outside the retreats because you have that common connection of having your faith.
“The retreats cater to everyone whether you're sporty or into music or just like to chill and meet new people. There are talks everyday that you get to hear and you have the freedom to go to whatever interests you.”
Emma said the highlight of the retreat in Roscrea was the opportunity to receive Confession. She said: “It has helped me grow closer to God. At the retreats there's no worrying about what people will think. It's completely normal to go to Confession. It's one of the most open-minded and loving spaces I've ever been in.”
Youth 2000 organise 10 regional and national retreats every year for young people wanting to explore their Catholic faith in fun and youth-focused setting. For more details about upcoming retreats find Youth 2000 Ireland on Facebook or visit youth2000.ie.