Tens of thousands expected at Knock novena

Intended to focus on renewal in the Catholic church

Knock Parish church. File photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

Knock Parish church. File photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 14:18

An estimated 150,000 pilgrims are expected to take part in this year’s national public novena at Knock which begins on Thursday. It continues until the following Thursday August 22nd.

Novena speakers this year will include Jesuit Fr David Neuheus on Thursday next, Dominican Fr Timothy Radcliffe on Friday, Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce on Saturday, Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran on Sunday, Fr Padraig Devine of the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution in Kenya on Monday, and Elma Walsh, mother of the late Kerry teenager Donal Walsh, who will speak on Wednesday August 20th. Rev Professor Eamon Conway of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick will speak on Saturday next also.

The novena theme this year is ‘Witness to hope’ and it will focus on honouring the 15 people who were witnesses to the Marian apparition at Knock 135 years ago in 1879. It is also intended to highlight the hope and prayers of the faithful for the renewal of the Church in Ireland at this time.

Knock parish priest Fr Richard Gibbons, who will himself speak during the novena on Thursday August 21st, said: “There is a new departure this year with the national novena - and as part of the 135th anniversary celebration of the apparition - we have developed a faith renewal programme incorporating seminars and workshops designed to give people a practical as well as an intellectual approach to the lives of pilgrims.

“There is something for in Knock for everyone in 2014! As usual our novena sessions will give everyone a great sense of encountering The Lord, together through the Eucharist, and also other sacraments such as Reconciliation/Confession. All are welcome.”

Daily Mass and prayer sessions will be complemented by seminars and workshops to assist the faith development, and faith renewal, of the pilgrims in attendance.

Further details at www.knock-shrine.ie