By editor - 26 January, 2016
A new high profile transatlantic pilgrimage from the US has been announced for July 2016 which will see Cardinal Seán O’Malley and the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh, fly in to participate in the basilica’s re-dedication ceremony.
This latest development is another historic gesture of solidarity by the US Church as the first ever chartered pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Boston will land at Knock on 14 July.
The pilgrimage was announced on Monday.
The Boston pilgrims will travel to Ireland’s National Shrine by an Aer Lingus operated chartered flight and will be the first transatlantic service operated by Aer Lingus between Boston and Ireland West Airport Knock.
The Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, is to lead the pilgrimage and Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh, will also travel with the group.
The highlight of the trip will be a re-dedication ceremony for the Basilica at Knock, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, on Saturday, 16 July.
The Boston pilgrimage follows on from last year’s first ever chartered transatlantic pilgrimage from New York to Knock Shrine, which was led by Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Fr Richard Gibbons, parish priest and rector of Knock Shrine, said he was delighted and looking forward to welcoming Cardinal O’Malley and Mayor Walsh to Knock.
“Both Cardinal O’Malley and Mayor Walsh have very strong western connections and once again, their visit with so many pilgrims shows the possibilities of pilgrimage growth and the strategic importance of Ireland West Airport to the future of Ireland’s National Marian Shrine.”
Cardinal O’Malley said he was looking forward to parishioners from the Archdiocese and people from many walks of life coming together to journey in pilgrimage to Knock Shrine.
“It is good to know that Mayor Martin Walsh will also be joining in the pilgrimage, joining the City of Boston’s proud Irish American heritage with that of the Archdiocese,” added Cardinal O’Malley.
Joe Kennedy, chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock described the flight as a “further stepping stone” towards securing regular transatlantic services for the airport.
“Today’s announcement is even more historic given the airport will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the official opening of the airport in May of this year and we look forward to welcoming our Boston visitors to the West of Ireland next July,” he said.