The Aisling Children's Arts Festival kicks off in Longford this week and, to celebrate 20 years of Aisling, the Longford Leader is publishing a number of articles from the Aisling Festival Supplement, which were written by Transition Year Students from a number of local schools.
As many people know, one of the largest not just religious, but spiritual, peaceful and interesting events took place this year in the form of the World Meeting of Families, which was held in Phoenix Park in Dublin.
Some of the most memorable parts of the day being the speeches and homilies brought by Pope Francis.
There was plenty available for everyone at this event whether you were a religious person or not - for example, various dances, speakers and teen and children’s programmes.
The key topic of this year’s World Meeting of Families was 'The Joy of Love' or 'Amoris Laetia'.
Other topics included the role of technology, the impact of conflict on families and children, faith and family and many more.
As part of our article, we interviewed a teen Eucharistic umbrella bearer at the frontline of the event.
She spoke to us about her role in this event and what she thought of the whole event.
As part of her job, she had to go to a school in Offaly for training.
The group of teens were brought to a lecture hall to be briefed on what was going to happen and what they had to do.
Another day of training occurred before the big day in Phoenix Park.
This was to get a feel for the place and know where everything was like for example, the toilets, first aid area, etc.
The job of the Eucharistic umbrella holders was to hold an umbrella over the Eucharist if it was raining while it was being given out.
Other than the rain, she and the rest of the group thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We also interviewed Bishop Francis Duffy, who is in charge of our diocese, Ardagh and Clonmacnoise.
He spoke about his role in the WMOF, and what it meant to him.
He had a very important role as a bishop. As with all the Bishops, he helped promote the WMOF in our diocese of Ardagh/ Clonmacnoise.
Another important role the bishop had was also to encourage parishioners and priests to engage with the ‘Amoris programme’ in their local church, parish and home life.
He told us he thought it was a good time for the pope to come to Ireland.
Many commentators have pointed to the changes in the Irish society since the visit of Pope John Paul II.
He said he also appears to be a pope for our times and he embodies a very down to earth person.
We then asked him his favourite and most important parts of this event.
He told us that for him, each venue as well as the meetings in Dublin, had its own special atmosphere and feel.
The one particular event that stood out for Bishop Francis was the Festival of Families.
It was a very joyful, hope-filled event with a positive message for all families.
He also said those who attended the events where the Pope was present were all impressed by him and his message.