The year 2017 will be a remarkable year for the people of Knock and the Irish diaspora in New York as plans are under way at Knock Shrine to lead a group out from Ireland West Airport to New York next May.
For the last two years, Knock Shrine and Ireland West Airport has welcomed pilgrimages in from New York and Boston, and will now have the privilege of taking the people of Knock and the west and northwest of Ireland across the waters for a special and historically unique, six-day trip which will be led by Fr Richard Gibbons, PP, Rector, Knock Shrine. The primary purpose of the visit is to have the remains of John Curry, the youngest person to witness the Knock Apparition of 1879, re-interred from the current location at Pine Lawn Cemetery, Long Island to St Patrick’s Old Cathedral, New York.
John Curry was just five years old when he, along with 14 others, witnessed a miraculous phenomenon at the gable wall of the parish church. Little did he know at that time what life would bring his way, however he, like many others, at the time left Ireland for New York where he remained until his death in 1943.
The remains of John Curry will be brought to St Patrick's Old Cathedral, Manhattan, on Saturday May 13 where a special requiem Mass will be celebrated. It is a great honour bestowed by the Archbishop of New York for Knock Shrine and for John Curry’s family to have his remains transferred to the historic centre of the Irish.
Fr Richard Gibbons, PP and Rector of Knock Shrine, commented: "I am delighted and looking forward to leading this historic trip to New York next May. The significance of the visit is two-fold in that it will recognise John Curry’s place as a witness and native of Knock and also pay tribute to others like him, the 'forgotten Irish' who faced the desolation of leaving home never to return. This unique trip will give the people of the region an opportunity to take part in a special trip flying out from Ireland West Airport to New York and take in the various sights and places of significance and to be part of something very unique and special."
Welcoming the announcement, Joe Kennedy, chairman, Ireland West Airport, said: "We are delighted to welcome the announcement of yet another historic service with Aer Lingus to New York in 2017, which is yet another milestone in the relationship between the airport and Aer Lingus. This follows on from the hugely successful charter programmes from New York in 2015 and Boston in 2016 and further highlights the possibilities of pilgrimage growth and the strategic importance of Ireland West Airport to the future of Ireland's National Marian Shrine."