To mark the the Feast Day of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 8 September last, rose bouquets were presented in honour of Our Lady in Knock and in other Marian Shrines around the world. The rose bouquet in Knock Shrine was presented by the Armstrong family – Martin, Una, Grace Marie, Michael and Joseph – on behalf of people in Ireland who travelled to make a Birthday Novena to Our Lady, praying the Rosary and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary over nine days. The celebrant was Father Denis Hartnett who also blessed roses for the sick and for people to bring home.
The two rose bouquets presented in Knock were organised by an Irish prayer group, An Teaghlach Naofa. Orla Sheehan of An Teaghlach Naofa said, “We are very grateful to Father Richard Gibbons, rector of Knock Shrine, for welcoming the bouquets. Rose bouquets have also been presented to honour Our Lady, on other feast days, in the international Marian shrines of Fatima, Lourdes, Loreto and Pompeii, on behalf of Irish people uniting in the spiritual bouquets. It is especially beautiful to honour our own Golden Rose, Our Lady of Knock, with an international bouquet and to have children at home and overseas unite in prayers to wish Our Lady Happy Birthday and ask for the gift of peace.”
Children in the Holy Family Church in Gaza, who are part of the prayer group “Buds of Gaza”, also marked the birthday of Our Lady after the celebration of Mass, as did children from Our Lady of Fatima Church in the Diocese of Saint Andrew, Sao Paulo, Brazil. In Uganda, Father Albert Oromcan and children joined the Rosary from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Nebbi, Uganda. Father Conor Donnelly and Irish missionary priest in Kenya, joined the Rosary from Eastlands, Nairobi with students gathered in the Aquinas Secondary School. Children in schools run by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Africa in Kariobangi, Nairobi also wished Our Lady Happy Birthday by praying the Rosary.
Teachers and students in the Dominican College, Taylors Hill, Galway, also joined the peace bouquet presented in the Apparition Chapel. Teacher Maire O’Shea said, “a group of teachers and students got together at 12.30pm during lunchtime to pray the Holy Rosary for peace in our world and as a birthday present for Our Blessed Mother the Queen of all of us.”