Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam will lead a group from Knock Shrine to participate in a Papal Mass celebrating the first ever Sunday of the Word of God. The Mass will take place in Saint Peters Basilica, Rome on Sunday 26 January.
In his Apostolic Letter “Aperuit Illis” of September 2019, Pope Francis announced his desire to devote the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as a day of reflection to highlight the importance of the Word of God for all Christians. The first such celebration will take place in the Universal Church on Sunday 26 January.
Pope Francis visited Knock Shrine in August 2018 as part of his time in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families 2018. In August 2019 Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, preached at the National Novena in Knock. In his reflection on the Apparition at Knock, he noted in particular the importance of Saint John the Evangelist who held the book of Scripture in his hand during the Apparition, thus highlighting the centrality of the Word of God. Following on from his visit, an invitation was extended for Knock Shrine to participate in a significant way in the first Mass honouring the Word of God in Rome.
The Schola Cantorum Basilicae choir directed by Úna Nolan, will perform music during the Mass that will include the much-loved hymn ‘Lady of Knock’ and other sacred music.
The new processional statue of Our Lady of Knock which was commissioned to celebrate the 140th Anniversary of the Apparition at Knock in 1879 will be present at the Papal Altar for the Mass. This statue was blessed by Pope Francis in Rome in August 2019.
The last time that Knock Shrine was officially involved in a Vatican ceremony was 1954 when the Knock Shrine Society led by Archbishop Joseph Walsh presented the Shrine banner to His Holiness Pope Pius XII.
Many people from the Parish of Knock and further afield are planning to make the journey to Rome for the Mass and there is great excitement surrounding this historic occasion.
Commenting ahead of the Mass, Father Richard Gibbons, PP and Rector of Knock Shrine, said, “I am delighted that Knock Shrine is being honoured at such an important Mass in Saint Peters Basilica. It points to the richness of the Apparition, which amongst other aspects, has the Word of God as a central part of its message. All of us who are travelling to Rome for the Mass are deeply conscious of the significance this event and are thankful for the opportunity to take part.”
The Mass will be broadcast live from 9.00am (Irish time) and 10.00am (Rome time) on EWTN on SKY channel 588.
For more see www.knockshrine.ie.