Preparations are under way for the annual National Grandparents Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine on Sunday September 11. Upwards of 15,000 pilgrims are expected to Knock on one of the shrine’s busiest days of the year. Archbishop Michael Neary from Tuam will celebrate Mass at 3pm, which will be preceded by the Anointing of the Sick at 2pm and followed by the Rosary.
Well-known preacher Fr Benny MacHale will deliver the homily. A reflection will be given by Kathy Sinnott from EWTN Radio with music from Liam Lawton, Anne Marie Gibbons, the Mayo School of Music Youth Choir, and Our Lady’s Choir, Castlebar.
The pilgrimage is being organised by the Catholic Grandparents Association, which was set up by grandmother of 10, Catherine Wiley, and formally launched in Knock by Cardinal Seán Brady in 2009. The CGA also hosts pilgrimages in Aylesford, Kent; Walsingham, Norfolk; Palm Beach, Florida; and the inaugural Scottish pilgrimage is planned for Carfin on August 21. Associate pilgrimages are also held in Germany, Tanzania, Nigeria, Australia, and Cambodia.
Last year 14,000 pilgrims attended the Knock Pilgrimage. CGA founder, Catherine Wiley said: “Grandparents from across the country came to Mayo to pray and show solidarity with one another. Our motto is simple - we assist grandparents to pass on the faith and keep prayer at the heart of family life.” CGA president Máire Printer said the association is obviously doing something right with the response to the pilgrimages. “Passing on the faith is something none of us can retire from. The vocation of grandparents is a special calling. We know that from the number of pilgrims who attend the pilgrimages. We aim to support them. Essentially, what grandparents are doing in passing on the faith is handing on a legacy of eternity to a new generation. There is no greater gift than that.”