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The Annual Novena at Our Lady of Knock
by Bridget Haggerty
In the summer of 2003, Pope John Paul's prayers were answered at Knock. It rained buckets. Considering the Pope's role in making it one of the major Marian Shrines in the world, it was appropriate that, of all of them, it was at Knock that his plea on behalf of "the victims of this calamity" (Europe's heatwave) that all "ask the Lord fervently to grant the thirsty Earth the coolness of rain."
It's estimated that over the nine-day novena period - between August 14th and 22nd - as many as 100,000 people visited the shrine. The pilgrims are mainly Irish and come from all over the island but many are from overseas. Literature at the shrine is in Polish, Italian, German and Spanish, as well as English.
The annual novena was begun as recently as 1977, when the late Monsignor Horan was parish priest at Knock. It was felt that something should be done in August to focus attention on devotion to Mary, since the feast day of Our Lady of Knock is August 21st and the feast of the Assumption is on August 15.
However, the pilgrimage season is not limited to these days in August, but extends annually from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in October, and usually also involves planned visits by groups from most dioceses in Ireland. The last Thursday of each month is especially dedicated to invalids and a Mass with Anointing of the Sick is concelebrated each day at 3:00 p.m.
Another annual highlight is the Padre Pio mass in September which attracts crowds of up to 15,000 every year.
Attendance by the sick and disabled is a particular feature of pilgrimages to the shrine with the Blessing of the Sick a major element in the annual event. There have been many reports of sick and disabled people believing they have been cured at Knock. Such claims average between 20 and 30 every year, but none have been investigated by church authorities.
The Knock Pilgrims Guide
This handy guide can be obtained at the Information Center and lists more than 50 points of interest on and around the grounds or within a short walking distance of the chapel.
St. John's Rest Care Center is a day care center for invalid and sick pilgrims visiting Knock. There is a doctor on call and wheelchairs, light refreshments, and a minibus with a wheelchair lift are also available. Plus, St. Joseph's Hostel has accommodations for invalid pilgrims on a weekly basis from May to November.
The Knock Folk Museum is situated to the south of the Basilica. The museum illustrates not only the religious significance of Knock, but places it in the context of the lifestyle of the people, their traditions and customs at that time. The permanent displays cover a broad range of topics - religion, fishing, farming, crafts, education, housing, clothing and more. The Knock Apparition of 1879 is well documented with the witness' testimonies, details of cures, contemporary accounts and photographs of the Apparition on display.
The healing charisma of Knock has been transferred by Church authority to the use of holy water and that is why visitors will see so many fonts in the parking lot.
More than a million people visit the Shrine every year.
Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Knock
Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to people in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to your divine Son, remembering His promise: "Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find".
Help me to remember that we are all pilgrims on the road to heaven. Fill me with love and concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who live with me. Comfort me when I am sick or lonely or depressed. Teach me how to take part ever more reverently in the Holy Mass. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen
NOTE: The above is an excerpt. For the complete Novena, please click Knock Shrine.
Hymn to Our Lady of Knock
Banthiarna Cnoic - Our Lady of Knock
They were people of all ages
Gathered round the gabled wall
Poor and humble man and woman
Little children at your call,
We are gathered here before you
And our hearts are just the same
Filled with joy at such a vision
As we praise your name
Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland
All my cares and troubles cease
As I kneel with love before you
Lady of Knock, My Queen of Peace"
Though your message was unspoken
Still the truth and silence reigns
As I gaze upon your vision
And the truth I tried to find
Here I stand with John the Teacher
And with Joseph at your side
And I see the Lamb of God
On the altar glorified
And the Lamb will conquer
and the woman clothed in the sun
will shine Her light on everyone
and the lamb will conquer
and the woman clothed in the sun,
will shine Her light on everyone
Hymn by Dana (Rosemary Scallon).
To hear the music and read the lyrics in Irish, please click: Dana.
Our Lady of Knock Shrine
Fri, Nov 24, 2017
Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*
Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.
Click for More Culture Corner.
This best-selling book covers the origins of Knock as a shrine and makes extensive use of reports from the leading newspapers of the day. Within its pages, the reader can savour all the principal happenings of the first year of its history. The book is well illustrated with many old photographs and modern colour prints, and there are generous helpings of verse, both old and new. It's sold in the bookshop at Knock, but if you can't visit the shrine, we did a search and found it on amazon UK. Please note - they will ship to an overseas address.
Click here for I saw Our Lady.