Thousands of youngsters fan flames of faith at outdoor Mass
More than 2,500 schoolchildren from Derry and Donegal packed into Celtic Park in Londonderry for the annual Fan The Flame open-air Mass.
More than 100 schools in the Derry diocese attend the event every year — with 20 of them crossing the border from Co Donegal to take part.
The annual Mass is for children who have taken their first sacrament of confirmation this year. Most of them are P7 pupils.
Bishop Donal McKeown celebrated the Mass and was accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Lagan, Bishop Hegarty and 18 priests.
The name ‘Fan The Flame’ is taken from St Paul’s letter to Timothy, in which he calls on Timothy to “fan the flame of faith”.
Speaking after the sun-soaked event, Fr Paul Farren paid tribute to the efforts of the more than 150 volunteers who had worked tirelessly to make the day a success through stewarding the event and organising transport for the children.
He also thanked the GAA authorities for making their Celtic Park facilities available for the event. The annual Fan The Flame is organised by the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Association, a youth-oriented organisation which helps with the teaching of religion in the diocesan schools.