Aid to the Church in Need Ireland highlights solidarity with suffering Christians at Knock Rosary Rally

10 Jun, 2024 | Church, News, World

Up to 15,000 people enjoyed beaming sunshine at the national Marian and Eucharistic shrine at Knock, Co. Mayo for the all-Ireland Rosary Rally on 1 June.

Aid to the Church in Need Ireland which, co-sponsored the massive event that drew pilgrims from all over the country, used the occasion to both promote the Rosary and encourage solidarity with Christians living in challenging circumstances.

“We really wanted to highlight the important witness of Christians in the Holy Land, particularly at this time of war,” said Michael Kelly, Director of Public Affairs for Aid to the Church in Need, Ireland (pictured on the left above with the CAN team).

ACN Ireland, a Pontifical Foundation, distributed special packs highlighting the work of the charity in over 140 countries, that included a gift of a rosary from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

“Pilgrims were very moved by the gift of the Rosary, particularly given that it was made in Bethlehem – it gave them a real link with the small Christian community that calls that holy city their home. We really hope it will encourage people to pray for and support the work of Aid to the Church in Need,” Mr Kelly said.

Pilgrims packed the iconic Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland for Mass that was presided over by Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr Phonsie Cullinan. Mass was concelebrated by Bishop emeritus of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley, and many priests who had led groups from across Ireland.

In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Cullinan encouraged pilgrims to bring the message of the Gospel to their families and communities. “When you experience his healing and his love, he is sending you out – and me – to be his healing to others. “Look at the thousands of us here today, if every single one of us could truly surrender to Jesus what a blessing that would be,” he said.

Dr Cullinan encouraged people to be missionaries in their everyday life. “Where does he want you to work? In your kitchen, in your living room, in your school, in your office, in your factory, on your farm, in the hospital – bringing his truth and love and mercy to the people he puts in your life,” he said.

“Ireland needs Jesus, we all know that. We see so much pain, so much brokenness which surely is breaking the heart of Jesus. So, friends – let’s give Jesus our number one vote,” Dr Cullinan said to sustained applause.

The charity,  Aid to the Church in Need International (ACN International) – which was founded in the aftermath of the devastation of World War II – now supports some 5,700 communities in close to 140 countries reaching some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the world, including in the war-torn Gaza Strip and in Ukraine.

The Irish office, which is based in Glasnevin, Dublin, supports this international work through the generosity of members of the Irish public.  Last year, thanks to the generosity of benefactors, ACN International funded activities to the tune of more than €148 million.



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