Marty Morrissey leads ‘hip hip hoorays’ for Knock novena

GAA broadcaster tells congregation about ‘living life to the full’


Gaelic games broadcaster Marty Morrissey received a standing ovation in Knock basilica on Wednesday when he outlined his advice for living a happy and fulfilled life.

Addressing several thousand pilgrims at the annual novena, he spoke for almost 30 minutes on the theme of “living life to the full”.

His 3pm address was interrupted by several outbreaks of applause. At its conclusion, he led the congregation in three “hip hip hoorays” for the Knock novena.

At one stage he asked members of the congregation to tell the people on their left and right that “I love you”.

“Welcome to Wednesday’s Solemn Novena at Knock,” he began. “My name is Marty. This is not a sermon. I am no preacher. I am one of ye, an ordinary Joe Soap trying to do his best here on Earth, trying to live life honestly and use whatever gifts God has given me.

“You could say I am living life to the full. I am no Holy Joe. In fact, I am no Holy Marty.”

He said he had kept it quiet up to now that he regularly visits the old parish church in Knock for prayer and reflection after carrying out broadcasting assignments in the region.

To laughter, he stressed he was not the person with fake tan and big false teeth depicted by Mario Rosenstock in his TV show. But one thing the mimics did get right, he said, was the fact he liked to celebrate – “that I’m Marty and I love to party”.

“This is unquestionably the biggest party I have ever spoken at, a celebration of a joy-filled faith, celebrating love of God, our hopes and our dreams.”

He outlined his mantra for living life to the full. “Give it welly, my friends,” he exhorted the congregation.“Enjoy every day. Put a smile on your face. If you are having a row with somebody, make contact and tell them ‘we need to sort this out.’”

Mr Morrissey spoke at both the 3pm and 9pm ceremonies and their success led one impressed Knock native, Joe Rattigan, to suggest that after the All-Ireland GAA finals every September, there should be a special pilgrimage day for Gaelic games fans from all over the world.

“It was a great idea for Fr Richard [Gibbons] to ask Marty to speak at the novena,” Mr Rattigan said. “We need more lay speakers like him if the popularity of the annual nine-day novena is to be continued.”

The novena concludes on Tuesday next.