Around 2500 young people who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Derry Diocese this year will gather at Celtic Park on Thursday to celebrate the Eucharist.
This is the sixth year that the ‘Fan the Flame’ open-air Mass has been held.
Monsignor Eamon Martin, Diocesan Administrator, will be the main celebrant and he will be joined by the retired bishops and a number of priests from the diocese.
To mark the International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Dublin next week, the Congress Hymn- ‘We are One Body’ - will be sung after Communion as the diocesan schools’ quilt and banners from each school are carried to the centre of the altar. The hymn reminds those gathered, “Though we are many, we are one body.”
Monsignor Martin said; “As the diocese stretches from Malin Head in Donegal to Scraghey Mountain in Tyrone and from Derry City to Bellaghy in County Derry, it gives schools a great sense of the wider church community to which they belong.
“The young people travel to the event by bus, by car and by foot accompanied by teachers and assistants but preparation begin long before the day.
“Already the young people have been busy in schools designing special t-shirts focusing on the power and action of the Spirit in their lives. They are learning the hymns for the Mass which will be led by the Long Tower Folk Group.
“The success of ‘Fan the Flame’ each year depends on so many people who give of their time and energy so generously.
“Adult volunteers along with a large number of second level students will gather from early morning working to ensure that the day is a memorable occasion for all.
“It is great to see the enthusiasm of the youth volunteers many of whom are also participating in the Pope John Paul II Award - many of these students would have attended the first Fan the Flame Mass back in 2007.”
Young people from different primary schools will participate in the liturgy by reading the Word of God, singing the psalm, and taking part in the offertory procession.
They will also release 2500 balloons.
“These symbolise the breath of the Holy Spirit living within the young people,” said Mons. Martin.