Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam has welcomed the inclusion of Knock, the international Marian Shrine, as one of thirty shrines around the world invited by Pope Francis to be part of his marathon of prayer during May for the end to the pandemic.
Archbishop Neary said, “The International Shrine of Our Lady of Knock welcomes the Holy Father’s heartfelt wish that the month of May will be dedicated to a ‘marathon’ of prayer, to ask for the end of the pandemic, which has afflicted the world for more than a year now, and to pray for the resumption of social and work activities. I commend Pope Francis’ wish to involve all the Marian shrines around the world in this initiative, so that they may become vehicles of the prayer of the universal Church.”
Pope Francis launched this marathon of prayer at the Vatican on 1 May, during which he blessed special Rosaries, one of which will be sent to the Marian Shrine at Knock. The Holy Father has assigned a special intention for each day of the month. The Rosary from Knock on Monday, 10 May will have the special intention of prayer for all people with disabilities.
Archbishop Michael Neary will preside, assisted by the Parish Priest of Knock and Rector of the International Shrine, Father Richard Gibbons, as the Rosary is recited at 5.00pm on Monday 10 May. It will be live streamed on the Knock Shrine website and on the Knock Shrine Facebook page.
Official Vatican channels will broadcast the prayer each day in each of these thirty Shrines at 6.00pm, Rome time (5.00pm Irish time). A short liturgical guide has been prepared that provides some useful suggestions which can be downloaded from the website of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization www.pcpne.va.
The Holy Father will conclude the month of prayer from the Vatican on 31 May.
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 Pope Saint John Paul II in 1979 as part of his apostolic pilgrimage, and in 2018 by Pope Francis as part of the celebrations in Ireland for the IX World Meeting of Families. On 19 March 2021, Pope Francis officially recognised Knock as an International Marian Shrine through the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation. Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, is the custodian of the Marian Shrine and Father Richard Gibbons is parish priest of Knock and rector of the shrine.