Galway faithful prepare for papal visit to Knock

Thousands of people are expected to travel from around Galway to Knock and Dublin this weekend to see Pope Francis, who will visit Mayo's Marian shrine on Sunday.

Bus Eireann has increased its services to both Dublin and Knock by more than 100 per cent on some routes, with additional services on both the X20 Expressway to Dublin and the route 64 service from Galway to Derry, which travels via Knock.

Tickets for these services must be purchased in advance on www.buseireann.ie/popeinireland

Meanwhile those planning to visit Knock on the day have been warned not to do so unless they have a ticket for the event, and to use public transport if possible.

Celebrations will begin in Knock at 8.25am on Sunday when the bells of Knock Shrine will ring out. All churches in the family of six dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of Tuam — namely Tuam, Elphin, Clonfert, Killala, Achonry, and Galway, Kilmacduagh, and Kilfenora — are invited to ring their bells at the same time to signal the beginning of the gathering at Knock and to extend a welcome to the Pontiff.

The bishops of the six dioceses — including Bishop of Galway Brendan Kelly — will also attend Knock on Sunday morning before travelling to Dublin for the Phoenix Park event.

Starting from 8.30am, Knock Shrine will host an event entitled Witness to Faith and Family, with video presentations, drama, music, and prayer.

On arrival at the Shrine, the Holy Father will move through the assembly in the Popemobile, arriving at the Apparition Gable towards 10am where he will be met by the Rector of the Shrine, Father Richard Gibbons.

The Pontiff will spend some time in silent prayer at the site of the apparition before exiting the chapel to deliver a short address and leading pilgrims in the Angelus prayer and imparting his Apostolic Blessing before departing for Ireland West Airport, Knock and returning to Dublin.

Directly after the Pope's departure there will be a concelebrated open-air Mass for the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary Time. Father Richard Gibbons will be the main celebrant and the Mass is part of the official ticketed event.

Angelus text, a hymn sheet, and general guidance/information on the liturgical events will be available for download/printing in the days prior to the event.

For further information visit www.knockshrine.ie/papal-visit

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