This year marks the 140th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady at Knock. The Knock Novena, which commences today 14 August, will see a series of events held over nine days to mark this milestone. The first National Knock Novena took place in 1977, and this year’s theme is ‘Continuing Our Journey’.
The annual novena coincides with the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, 15 August, which will be celebrated tomorrow by the universal Church.
During the 2019 novena, there will be a number of special events marking the 140th anniversary of the apparition. The Knock Museum unveils a historic model of Knock Village, as it was at the time of the apparition in 1879, offering unique insight into the lives of those who lived there. A new processional statue of Our Lady of Knock will be blessed at the 3pm ceremony on 21 August. The statue was carved in Italy by the Stuflesser studio based in Ortesei, a region renowned for its wood carving and sculpture. A witnesses’ walk entitled ‘Meeting heaven at harvest time’ will take place at 7pm on the anniversary of the apparition. The steps of those who witnessed the apparition in 1879 will be retraced, from the town to the parish church.
Many high profile speakers will deliver seminars across the novena programme, see below. Daily seminars will take place at 12pm in Saint John’s Rest and Care Centre. Anointing of the Sick will also take place each day at 2.30pm in the Knock Basilica. The Knock Novena ceremonies will take place at 3pm and 8 pm daily, from 14-22 August.
The speakers and themes featured at this year’s Knock Novena are:
- John Bruton: Faith, Future and Europe (14 August)
- Archbishop Rino Fisichella: Mary in the life of the Church (15 August)
- Olive Foley: Family and Faith (16 August)
- Bishop Alan Mc Guckian, SJ, Bishop of Raphoe: What Knock means to me (17 August)
- Dr John Feehan: God in Creation – learning to read the other Book of Revelation (17 August)
- Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin: A joy that lies ahead of us (18 August)
- Monsignor John Armitage: Mary and the reality of family life (18 August)
- Carole Coleman: Motherhood, media and me (19 August)
- Rev Trevor Sargent: Faith in Action (20 August)
- Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam: The message of the Knock Apparition then and now (21 August)
- Father Peter McVerry, SJ: Following the dream of Jesus (22 August)
The story of Knock began on the 21 August 1879 when Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. This miraculous, silent, apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. Knock is an internationally recognised Marian Shrine and was visited by Saint Pope John Paul II as part of his 1979 apostolic pilgrimage to Ireland. During his visit, which coincided with the Shrine’s centenary year, the late pope celebrated Mass at the Shrine and addressed the sick, their helpers and pilgrimage directors. On 26 August 2018, the Holy Father Pope Francis prayed the Angelus at the Marian Shrine on the second day of his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families. Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, is the custodian of the shrine and Father Richard Gibbons is parish priest of Knock and rector of the shrine. For further information see: http://www.knockshrine.ie.