‘Man of faith’ Marty Morrissey to appear at Knock Shrine

August novena one of the biggest annual events in the Irish Catholic Church calendar

Marty Morrissey: chosen for his “positive outlook”. Photograph: Aidan Oliver Photography

Marty Morrissey: chosen for his “positive outlook”. Photograph: Aidan Oliver Photography


One of the main speakers at the Knock annual novena next month will be RTÉ sports personality Marty Morrissey. A spokeswoman for the shrine said “we approached him because he is a man of faith and because of his positive outlook”.

He will speak on this year’s novena theme, Living Life to the Full, at two ceremonies in Knock Basilica, at 3pm and 8.30pm, on Wednesday, August 16th, so there will be no clash with his commentary duties on RTÉ. It will be his debut as a speaker in Knock.

The novena begins on Monday, August 14th, continuing to the 22nd. Sport will be a major subject at workshops during the novena, with speakers including Fr Kevin O’Gorman, author of Saving Sport: Sport, Society and Spirituality.

It is the biggest annual event in Knock Shrine’s annual calendar and in the Irish Catholic Church, with more than 150,000 people attending over the nine days of the novena.

A highlight this year will be the launch of the World Meeting of Families 2018 programme on Monday, August 21st, which will take place in Dublin in August 2018. Pope Francis is expected to take part, and families representing each of the Catholic Church’s 26 dioceses in Ireland will travel to Knock for the day.

Touring icon

At next year’s celebration, a newly commissioned Icon of the Holy Family will be unveiled and anointed in the Basilica, following which the icon will travel to each diocese around the country.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin will highlight family life in a talk, When Plates Fly! Pope Francis on the Joys and Challenges of Family Life, with workshops facilitated by World Meeting of Families 2018 secretary general Fr Timothy Bartlett on making technology more family-friendly.

A ceremony to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year will take place at the shrine on Friday, August 18th, and will be attended by Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry Patrick Rooke. He will be joined by Dr Salvador Ryan, professor of ecclesiastical history at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, who will conduct workshops on the day.

Ceremonies will take place at 3pm and 8.30pm each day, with workshops at noon and 6pm daily. All will be streamed live via the Knock Shrine Facebook and Twitter pages. Masses will be streamed on the Knock Shrine website and YouTube channel.