39th Annual Pilgrimage to Knock

 

 

knock shrine.jpg

The weather was wonderful this past weekend with the sun blazing down as over 1000 pilgrims joined the annual SMA/OLA Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine.

Fr Malachy Flanagan, SMA Vice Provincial Leader, presided at this 39th Pilgrimage and Fr Eamonn Finnegan SMA, Leader of the SMA community in Claregalway, Co Galway delivered the homily.

He invited the attendees to “hand all our troubles and worries over to Mary and she will bring them to Jesus,” and went on to ask them to pray for the release of Fr Luigi Maccalli, an Italian SMA priest, who was kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in Niger last September.

Touching on the difficulties encountered in mission life, he spoke of the Algerian martyrs who were beatified in December last year, among them, OLA Sisters Angele-Marie and Bibiane.

Fr Malachy highlighted the joy of the African people, describing the vibrancy of the church in Africa and the many blessings of mission life on that continent.

You can read more of Fr Malachy’s homily here.

The Knock Shrine

 

The Story of Knock began on the 21st August, 1879 when, at approximately 8 o’clock in the evening, fifteen people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.The witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition, most of whom were from the village of Knock and surrounding areas and ranged in age from just 5 years old to 74 years old. Each of the witnesses gave testimonies to a Commission of  Enquiry in October 1879. The findings of the Commission were that the testimonies were both trustworthy and satisfactory.” (from https://www.knockshrine.ie/) 

Although initially not quite as famous as Lourdes or Fatima, after Pope John Paul II went there in 1979 and Mother Teresa in 1993, awareness of knock grew. Today it draws one and a half million visitors each year.