The annual Knock National Novena has been postponed until later this year.
Parish priest and rector of Knock Shrine, Fr Richard Gibbons, has announced that the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock is being put on hold.
The novena of prayer and reflection was due to take place next month from August 14th to 22nd.
Fr Gibbons said: “We have taken this difficult decision in the interest of the health and safety of our pilgrims and staff here at the Shrine. Given the recent concern from both Government and health agencies regarding the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the responsible course of action is to postpone the National Novena at this time.”
Fr Gibbons expressed his disappointment at the postponement of the Novena for the second year in a row, and his hope that the national celebration of faith will take place later this year.
He added: “It is vital that we allow the national vaccination programme to proceed across all age groups. Once we can safely gather again at Knock Shrine a full programme will be announced for the Novena to take place later in the year.”
The story of Knock began in August 1879 when Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. This miraculous silent apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old.
Last March Pope Francis officially recognised Knock as an International Marian Shrine through the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation.
Father Gibbons explained that at this time the national Marian Shrine is open to the public and pilgrims for the celebration of daily Mass with restricted capacity at Knock Basilica. The Sacrament of Confession is available daily as well as other services including the Mass Enrolment Office, Knock Museum and Knock Counselling Centre.”
“We continue to welcome pilgrims to the Shrine. All who visit can be rest assured that Knock is a very safe place and that every precaution is in place to ensure the safety of all our pilgrims.
“We have queueing systems in place at all public buildings on the grounds of the Shrine, as well as ushers and staff that are present to ensure everything is done correctly and in line with latest public health guidelines,” he added.
Throughout the month of August additional Masses will be available. Full details are available on the Knock Shrine website knockshrine.ie.