The much-speculated visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine was confirmed this week, with the Pontiff due to arrive in Mayo on Sunday, August 26.
The Pope will be in Ireland for two days for the World Meeting of Families event which will take place in Dublin, but will pay a flying visit to Knock on the second day of his visit.
His arrival in Ireland West Airport is expected at 9.20am on the day, from there he will travel to Knock Shrine where he will arrive for 9.45am and visit the shrine chapel before saying the Angelus in the square in front of the Shrine. He is due to leave Knock Shrine at 10.45am and fly back out of Ireland West Airport to Dublin.
It is expected that the capacity of Knock Shrine will be limited to 45,000 for the Pope's visit and it will be a strictly all- ticket event. Members of the public can apply for tickets on the World Meeting of Families website at www.worldmeeting2018.ie Registration will open on Monday, June 25 and you can apply for a ticket for either the Pope's visit to Knock or the Phoenix Park. The Pope’s visit to Knock Shrine is a free event a ticket will be required to gain entry.
When applying for a ticket applicants will be asked where they plan to travel from on the day and how they plan to travel. This information will inform the assigned route to follow for the event. The organisers have warned that the journey to and from Knock for those attending the event could be long and involve a lot of walking depending on where or persons travel from.
They also have asked those interested in attending to talk to their doctor or other health professional if they are unsure if they can make this journey or if you have any pre-existing medical conditions and to make sure they bring any medications you need. They also warned that this is not a seated event so attendees may be standing for some time.
Minister Michael Ring welcomed the news of the Pope's visit saying: “Knock has great significance for people of the Catholic faith in Ireland and the Pope’s decision to visit the basilica will no doubt be warmly welcomed.
“The visit of Pope John Paul II to Knock in 1979 was a seminal moment for the West of Ireland and the news that Pope Francis is to visit Knock is fantastic news for Mayo. I have no doubt that people from Mayo and beyond will turn out in great numbers to welcome Pope Francis on his visit to Knock Shrine. The basilica of Our Lady has recently undergone a major makeover and will no doubt be looking it’s best for the visit.”
Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Cllr Richard Finn said: “We are privileged to welcome Pope Francis to Mayo as part of his first papal visit to Ireland. We are incredibly honoured that Knock Shrine is included in this papal visit, as it was when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. This is a momentous moment for Mayo, to have the opportunity to a have a world spiritual leader visit our Shrine and in doing so bring world attention to our beautiful county. We are very grateful and eagerly look forward to his arrival”
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport said “It will be both an honour and a privilege to welcome Pope Francis in August for what will be a historic first papal visit to the airport and the realisation of the vision of the airport founder Monsignor Horan. This will be a truly historic occasion and will showcase the airport, Knock Shrine and indeed the West of Ireland to a global audience of millions which will have a hugely positive impact for tourism to the region. I’d also like to recognize the hard work of Fr Richard Gibbons and his team in Knock who have worked tirelessly over the last number of months to make this happen and all at the airport looks forward to a great occasion in August."