Knock shrine planned Novena to Our Lady postponed due to Delta Covid variant concerns

Parish priest and rector of Knock Shrine, Father Richard Gibbons, has announced that the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock is being postponed until later this year.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:14 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:16 am
2018: Crowds wait for Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
2018: Crowds wait for Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

The popular annual novena of prayer and reflection was due to take place next month from the 14 to 22 August.

Ordinarily, many pilgrims would travel from Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone for the event, which had to be held virtually last year.

Father Richard said: “We have taken this difficult decision in the interest of the health and safety of our pilgrims and staff here at the Shrine. Given the recent concern from both government and health agencies regarding the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the responsible course of action is to postpone the National Novena at this time.”

Father Richard expressed his disappointment at the postponement of the Novena for the second year in a row, and his hope that the national celebration of faith will take place later this year. He said, “it is vital that we allow the national vaccination programme to proceed across all age groups. Once we can safely gather again at Knock Shrine a full programme will be announced for the Novena to take place later in the year.”

He continued, “At this time the national Marian Shrine is open to the public and pilgrims for the celebration of daily Mass with restricted capacity at Knock Basilica. The Sacrament of Confession is available daily as well as other services including the Mass Enrolment Office, Knock Museum and Knock Counselling Centre.”

“We continue to welcome pilgrims to the Shrine. All who visit can be rest assured that Knock is a very safe place and that every precaution is in place to ensure the safety of all our pilgrims. We have queueing systems in place at all public buildings on the grounds of the Shrine, as well as ushers and staff that are present to ensure everything is done correctly and in line with latest public health guidelines,” Father Richard said.

Throughout the month of August additional Masses will be available. Full details are available on the Knock Shrine website www.knockshrine.ieThe story of Knock began on the August 21, 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 March 19, 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.