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Annual Knock novena to attract 150,000 pilgrims

By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 August, 2014

Bishop Michael Smith of Meath.

Bishop Michael Smith of Meath.

Bishop Michael Smith of Meath has paid tribute to the planning underway for the refurbishment of Knock Basilica and the renewal of the shrine as a centre of pilgrimage and faith formation.

In his address last weekend for the Meath diocesan pilgrimage to the national shrine, Bishop Smith commended Fr Richard Gibbons and his team for their plans.

“They merit our strongest support and encouragement,” the Bishop of Meath said.

Speaking about pilgrimage, Bishop Smith said that while going on pilgrimage involves making a physical journey to arrive at the goal of one’s pilgrimage, of much greater importance is the inner journey of faith involved in any pilgrimage.

He told the congregation that going on pilgrimage has very ancient roots and was central to the expression of faith in the Old Testament.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus too, both as a child and as an adult, went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he noted.

Referring to the persecution suffered by the early Church and the scattering of its early followers, Dr Smith said that with the Providence of God the scattering brought the Church to many different places.

This Bishop Smith suggested had “great relevance for the Church in the countries of the Middle East and all across North Africa, as well as in many other countries around the world” today.

“There is no scarcity of martyrs in the Church of our time,” he stated and added, “Faith is never lived in a vacuum. In life we are constantly called to make choices, to make decisions. Witnessing and living the ethical values rooted in faith always demand courage and conviction. It also demands knowledge of our faith.”

The Bishop of Meath told his diocesan pilgrims that they could do worse than have a copy of the new Catechism for Adults to dip into and to learn more about our faith.

“Knock invites us to reflect, to pray, to affirm our faith. Christ is always with His Church. Mary walks with us a gentle and constant companion on that journey. Under her title as Our Lady of Knock may she pray and sustain us always,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the annual national public novena will take place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, in Co Mayo starting on Thursday this week and continuing until Friday 22 August.

The theme for the 2014 novena is  ‘Witness to hope’ and this focuses on honouring the 15 people who were witnesses to the Marian apparition 135 years ago in 1879, and the theme also highlights the hope and prayers of the faithful for the renewal of the Church in Ireland at this time.

150,000 pilgrims are expected to come from all over Ireland to attend this year’s nine-day novena.

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.

According to Fr Richard Gibbons, parish priest of Knock, “There is a new departure this year with the national novena and as part of the 135th anniversary celebration of the apparition.”

A faith renewal programme incorporating seminars and workshops has been 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,” Fr Gibbons said.

“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.”

List of novena speakers, seminars and workshops for the 2014 national public novena in honour of Our Lady of Knock:

Venue: Knock Shrine; date: 14 – 22 August 2014; times: afternoon 3pm, evening 8.30pm:

Seminars/Workshops: Daily 12 Noon and 6pm:

Friday 15 –  Sunday 17:
Ceremonies commence with Anointing of the Sick at 2.30pm

Thursday 14 August:
Fr David Neuheus SJ ‘Faith- A Personal Journey’

Friday 15  August:
Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP ‘Mary: A Witness to Hope for Today’

Saturday 16 August:
Most Rev Philip Boyce OCD, Bishop of Raphoe ‘Pilgrimage- A Journey in Hope’

Sunday 17 August:
Most Rev Kevin Doran, DD Bishop of Elphin ‘My Hope for the Church’

Monday 18 August:
Fr Padraig Devine SMA ‘Reconciliation as a Sign of Hope’

Tuesday 19 August:
Mr Tom Kendzia ‘Eucharist- A Source of Joy’

Wednesday 20 August:
Elma Walsh, Mother of the late Donal Walsh RIP ‘Living Life to the Full’

Thursday 21 August:
Fr Richard Gibbons, PP, Rector, Knock Shrine  ‘A Vision for Knock’

Friday 22 August:
Grace Mulqueen, Curator, Knock Museum ‘The Knock Witnesses – Ordinary people, an Extraordinary event’

Workshops and Seminars Daily: 12 noon and 6pm

Thursday 14
Fr David Neuheus SJ
‘Speaking the Language of Jesus’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Friday 15
12 Noon Only: Fr Danny Murphy, Director, National Liturgy Centre,
Sunday Eucharist- The Challenge Today’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Saturday 16
Rev Professor Eamon Conway ‘Allowing Pope Francis to Disturb Us’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Sunday 17
Knock Prayer Guides ‘An Encounter with God- Prayer Guidance Workshop’ Location: The Prayer Guidance Centre

Monday 18
Fr Padraig Devine SMA ‘The Gospel and Conflict Resolution: SHALOM’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Tuesday 19
Mr Tom Kendzia ‘Liturgy and Music’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Wednesday 20
Fiona McCarthy, Knock Counselling Centre ‘The Good Life: A Path of Personal Growth & Development’ Location: Knock Counselling Centre

Thursday 21
Dr Sandra Cullen, Mater Dei ‘Share the Good News- Faith Renewal Today’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

Friday 22
Maura Hyland, Director, Veritas ‘A Call to Renewal of Faith for Adults’ Location: Saint John’s Rest and Day Care Centre

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