Earlier this week Ireland West Airport Knock and Knock Shrine announced that the first Diocesan pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Boston to Ireland’s National Marian Shrine will take place in July this year. The announcement of this pilgrimage follows a similar pilgrimage from the New York Archdiocese which took place last summer. This will be the first ever transatlantic service operated by Aer Lingus, from Boston, to Ireland West Airport Knock.
The pilgrimage will be led by Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán O'Malley, and will touch down in IWAK on Thursday July 14 and head back to the US a week later on Thursday July 21. Also travelling as part of the trip to the West of Ireland will be the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh.
Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley speaking about the pilgrimage, said: "The Archdiocese of Boston is blessed and strengthened by the faith of the Irish Catholic community here and also that of our many friends and relations in Ireland. We look forward to parishioners from the Archdiocese and people from many walks of life coming together as we journey in pilgrimage to the Shrine at Knock this coming July for the rededication of Our Lady's Basilica. It is good to know that Mayor Martin Walsh will also be joining in the pilgrimage, joining the City of Boston's proud Irish American heritage with that of the Archdiocese. We look forward to this journey of faith with gratitude for all who are working to provide the very helpful direct transport from Boston to Knock."
Fr Richard Gibbons, PP and Rector of Knock Shrine, commented: "I am delighted and looking forward to welcoming Cardinal O'Malley, the Archdiocese of Boston and the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh to Knock for the rededication of the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland on July 16 next. Both Cardinal O'Malley and Mayor Walsh have very strong western connections and once again their visit with so many pilgrims shows the possibilities of pilgrimage growth and the strategic importance of Ireland West Airport to the future of Ireland's National Marian Shrine."
The chairman of IWAK, Joe Kennedy, added: "We are delighted to welcome today's announcement of a charter service with Aer Lingus from Boston in 2016, which is yet another milestone in the relationship between the airport and Aer Lingus. This follows on from the hugely successful charter programme from New York in 2015 and is a further stepping stone in securing regular transatlantic services for the region into the future. Today’s announcement is even more historic given the airport will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the official opening of the airport in May of this year and we look forward to welcoming our Boston visitors to the West of Ireland next July."