By Sean Ryan - 29 August, 2016
Knock Marriage Bureau played a role in bringing about five marriages last year and so far this year it has also been responsible for three engagements.
Farmers and female teachers are among the most popular clients availing of the Knock Marriage Introduction Service.
The bureau currently has 265 men and women on file registered with the aim of finding true love that will end up in marriage.
Women, the vast majority of whom have third level education, have told the service administrators, Canon Joe Cooney and Leona Connery, that a lack of suitable social outlets was the reason for them registering in the hope of meeting someone compatible.
Speaking to the Connaught Tribune newspaper, Canon Cooney, who has been running the service for 11 years, revealed that he was the chief celebrant at a marriage that resulted from an introduction at Knock recently while Leona Connery was among the invited guests.
More than 1,000 marriages have taken place as a direct result of introductions that have been made in Knock. Last year there were five weddings and at the moment there are three engagements.
But as Canon Cooney, a retired parish priest of Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo told the Connacht Tribune, there is a huge amount of interest particularly from the West of Ireland “the vast majority of men from farming backgrounds with many of the women being teachers and nurses. We have applicants from 29 to 75 at the moment”.
According to Leona Connery secretary of Knock Marriage Introductions, “It is certainly a very interesting job. And we are always absolutely delighted to hear the good news when couples contact us and tell us they are engaged to be married”.
Ms Connery said the marriage introduction service is “way ahead” of internet and speed dating.
“We have people using our service who have tried both and still come back to us because it is a success”, she said.
The service was founded in 1968 by the late Fr Michael Keane, a native of Claremorris.
At that time, with emigration rates extremely high, it aimed to introduce returning emigrants to women at home. In 2013 the service launched www.knockmarriageintroductions.com.
Applicants, who must be free to marry in the Catholic Church, are asked to complete two questionnaires and attach two full-length postcard-size photographs, together with a payment of €170 for one year’s membership.
About two weeks after applicants are matched by the service, they are contacted to see whether they have met up and how they are getting on.