National Parish Youth Conference: ‘Our Faith Let’s Celebrate!’

24 Feb 2012

All roads lead to Tullamore for the National Parish Youth Conference: ‘Our Faith Let’s Celebrate!’

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is” (Eph  3:18)

The third National Parish Youth Conference takes place tomorrow from 9.30am in Saint Mary’s Youth and Community Centre, Tullamore, Co Offaly, in the Diocese of Meath.  The theme is: “Our Faith Let’s Celebrate!”

Speaking ahead of the event Ciara Molloy, conference organiser and chairperson of Tullamore Junior Parish Pastoral Council, said “The aim of the youth conference is to give an opportunity to young people to discuss and share their experiences of faith in a fun and friendly atmosphere.  This day will be packed with topical discussions, interesting talks and open forums.  We hope that everyone will be inspired by what they hear and will give voice to their opinions.  What we need most in our world are enthusiastic young people who are willing to work together for a better future.”

“There are many people working to empower young people in Ireland.  The unique aspect of this conference is that it is our friendship with Jesus Christ that is bringing us together on this day” Ms Molloy said.

Congratulating the Tullamore Junior Parish Pastoral Committee on this initiative Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, said, “I have met with the Junior Parish Pastoral Committee many times and I am delighted that the National Youth Conference is taking place.”

“I strongly believe that our young people are the future leaders of our parishes in the life of faith.  We owe it to the next generation to pass on a living and vibrant faith.  It is incumbent on all of us to give young people every support that we can as they in turn build a Church of hope and confidence in God’s presence.  This responsibility is all the more time critical during this time of renewal for the Church in Ireland and in this the year of the International Eucharistic Congress,” Bishop Smith said.

Tullamore Parish Curate Father Patrick Donnelly said “Our hope as a Council is that many parishes across Ireland will be represented by young people between the ages of 12 – 18 years of age.  The Youth Conference provides an excellent opportunity for young Catholics to express their views, share ideas and receive support from each other.  We also hope that it will contribute to the renewal of the Irish Church at the grass root level.”

Father Donnelly continued, “Ciara Molloy has aptly chosen the following piece of scripture for the day:
‘When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.  And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14–21)’”

Father Donnelly said, “We are fortunate to have excellent contributors participating in the National Youth Conference including Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, Bishop of Killaloe; Hannah Evans from Trocáire, the Church’s overseas aid agency; Dr Andrew O’Connell of the Presentation Brothers and columnist with The Irish Catholic; Jonny Sommerville and Nicola Marshall of the Youth Alpha Programme; Ger Brennan, teacher and Dublin GAA senior panel; Michelle Molloy, Leaving Certificate student in Tullamore College; and, Gerard Gallagher of the Office for Evangelisation and Ecumenism of the Archdiocese of Dublin.”


Further information:
Tullamore: Father Patrick Donnelly CC 00 353 87 9985405; Ciara Molloy or Sister Genny 00 353 57 9321587 See and
Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: Martin Long 00 353 861727678

Notes for Editors

•    Will Faulkner from Midlands 103 will act as Master of Ceremonies and music throughout the day will be provided by ‘Ruaille Buaille’, ‘Shalom’ and Coláiste Cholim.
•    Reporters and media photographers can attend for a briefing at 2.30pm and visitors can observe the panel discussion and keynote speeches.  See video invitation on
•    The Tullamore Junior Parish Pastoral Council was founded in September 2006 by members of the Tullamore parish team who believed that young people should have more of a say in the running of their parish and their Church.  From just an idea at a boardroom meeting, Tullamore Junior Parish Pastoral Council grew from a small group of around 18 members to the council that it is today with over 27 members.  Members are drawn from local secondary schools in Tullamore and Kilbeggan with members aged from 12 to 18.
•    The Tullamore Junior Parish Pastoral Council was the founder and first ever host of the National Parish Youth Conference in 2010.  The conference was well attended by young people . The groups shared ideas on how to improve their local areas, explore the reality of young peoples’ lives and learn from each other’s experiences.  The initial success of the conference has allowed it to become an annual event.

The Speakers:

Will Faulkner
Will Faulkner is the presenter of Midlands Today. Will is the youngest person to front a flagship programme on Irish radio and also serves as the Director of Programming at Midlands 103. He holds a first class honours degree in Journalism and Media Communications and has worked for various broadcasters including CKR FM, Independent Network News, 98FM and KCLR 96FM.

Bishop Kieran O’Reilly
Bishop O’Reilly was born in Cork, he entered the Society of African Missions in Wilton, Cork in 1970. Ordained for the Society on the 17 June 1978 he served in Liberia for two years before studying for a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. From 1984 to 1989 Fr Kieran  was lecturing in Scripture at the major seminary in Ibadan, Nigeria. Since 1990 he has served on the Irish and International Councils of the Society of African Missions. At the time of his appointment Fr. Kieran was serving his second term as Superior General of the Society. As a member of the Union of Superiors General attended and contributed to two Synod of Bishops in Rome.  Bishop Kieran O Reilly was appointed Bishop of Killaloe by Pope Benedict XVI on 18 May 2010, and ordained Bishop of Killaloe on 29 August 2010. Bishop O’Reilly, is a member of three councils of the Irish Bishops’ Conference: Missions; Research and Development; and, Catechetics.

Jonny Somerville
Jonny Somerville is from Dublin and is married to Susan and they have recently had a baby called Luke. Jonny has been working for Scripture Union and Alpha Ireland for the last number of years and has worked tirelessly in Youth Ministry. Since September he has been running a number of Youth Alpha Courses in post primary Schools in Dublin Sligo and here in Tullamore. 120 young people in the 3 local post primary schools completed the 10 week course before Christmas which was led by Jonny and the Parish team.

Andrew O Connell
Communications Director for the Presentation Brothers and a member of the National Executive of Vocations Ireland which resources religious vocations directors. He is also a columnist with “The Irish Catholic” newspaper. He holds a PhD in Chemistry.

Ger Brennan
Ger Brennan plays football for Dublin and St Vincent’s. He won the 2007 O’Byrne Cup for Dublin against Laois at O’Connor Park in Offaly . Ger won his first Dublin Senior Football Championship medal with St Vincent’s in 2007 in the final against St Brigid’s at Parnell Park. He then went on to win the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship final against Tyrrellspass of Westmeath. Ger was awarded the honour of being chosen as the Leinster club player of the year for his performances in the Leinster club championship with St Vincent’s. Ger Played as part of a victorious Dublin squad to win the All Ireland Senior Football Championship in a rousing match against Kerry.  Ger has spoken at many Youth Events recently on the importance of faith in his life. He is also involved in preparations for the 50 International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in  June

Michelle Molloy
Michelle Molloy is a Native of Tullamore and has been involved in parish life from an early age. She is a founder member of the 1st ever Junior parish Pastoral Council, which was founded in September 2006. Recently as part of a school project Michelle work with “Gemini Ireland” – Self Help Africa where she joined young people from various parts of Ireland and spent some time in Zambia visiting projects which were funded by the different schools represented. Michelle is currently studying for her Leaving Certificate in Tullamore College.

National Youth Conference – Timetable
9.00am                 Registration
9.30am                 Opening Address: Mrs Margaret Kelly, Chairperson of Tullamore PPC; Ciara Molloy, Chairperson of Tullamore Junior PPC
9.45am                 Opening Liturgy: Music by Shalom
10.00am               Format of the day Will Faulkner
10.15am               Opening Talk Andrew O Connell
10.35am               Group Discussion and feedback
11.00am               Refreshments, music by Colaiste Choilm
11.15am               Youth Alpha Jonny Somerville and Team
12.25pm               Music
12.30pm               Spotlight interview with Michelle Molloy
12.50pm               Lunch, Music by Ruaille Buaille
1.50pm                 Will Faulkner
2.00pm                 Spotlight interview with Bishop Kieran O’Reilly
2.20pm                 Music by Colaiste Choilm
2.30pm                 Spotlight interview with Ger Brennan
3.00pm                 Small group discussion followed by feedback
3.45pm                 Music by Ruaille Buaille
4.00pm                 Summary of the day and panel discussion: Will Faulkner, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, Andrew O’Connell, Michelle Molloy, Jonny Somerville, Ger Brennan and Ciara Molloy
4.30pm                 Closing Liturgy
5.00pm                 Depart