A special ceremony of rededication will took place today, Saturday 16 July, to mark 40 years since the original dedication of Knock Basilica, which took place on 18 July in 1976. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, who is here in Ireland as part of the first ever official diocesan pilgrimage from Boston to Knock, officiated at the ceremony, which was also attended by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop Michael Neary, diocesan bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful from across Ireland.
Knock Basilica has recently been completely modernised and transformed into a warm and welcoming sacred space with top of the range technology incorporated to facilitate pilgrims with live-streamed Masses and ceremonies as well a broader mix of concerts and events, such as the hugely successful ‘Concert for Peace’ which took place in May.
The renovation marks a new era in the history of the Basilica which started out as the great wish of Monsignor Horan to give shelter to the thousands of pilgrims visiting Knock Shrine. It has since evolved from a one-dimensional, purpose-built, functional building to one that suggests endless possibilities for Knock Shrine, the wider community and the West of Ireland.
The Basilica originally held the title ‘Church of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland’, however it was raised to the status of Basilica during the Papal visit of 1979.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that in honour of Our Blessed Lady, on this Centenary Year at Knock, the new Church recently built in her honour will from this day forward be known under the title of the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of Ireland”
Saint John Paul II, 30th September, 1979
The rededication ceremony coincides with the visit of more than 170 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston, led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, who arrived at Knock airport on Friday 15 July. The arrival of this group is perfectly providential in echoing the dream of Monsignor James Horan to bring pilgrims to Knock from all over the world.
Commenting on the Boston Archdiocesan pilgrimage, Father Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest, Knock, said, “We are delighted to see the second organised pilgrimage coming in from the States, as we has the Archdiocese of New York last year with Cardinal Dolan which was wonderful for Knock. We are anticipating crowds similar to the 15 August, which is traditionally a very busy day in Knock.”
A commemorative booklet was launched today which showcases the beautiful images of the new interior and interesting details around the refurbished elements as well as the impressive new mosaic, comprised of over 1.5 million tiny mosaic tiles.
For further information: www.knockshrine.ie.