Knock’s annual national novena has been postponed until later this year.
The parish priest and rector of the Knock shrine, Father Richard Gibbons, announced the suspension of the national novena to Our Lady of Knock.
The novena of prayer and reflection was to take place next month from August 14 to 22.
Father Gibbons said, “We have made this difficult decision in the interests of the health and safety of our pilgrims and staff here at the shrine. Given recent government and health agency concern over the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the responsible course of action is to postpone the national novena for now. “
Father Gibbons expressed his disappointment with the postponement of the Novena for the second year in a row, and his hope that the national celebration of the faith will take place later this year.
He added: “It is vital that we allow the national immunization program to run across all age groups. Once we can safely reunite at Knock Shrine, a full schedule will be announced for the novena later in the year.
Knock’s story began in August 1879 when Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of the Parish Church in Knock. This miraculous silent apparition was observed by fifteen people, young and old.
Last March, Pope Francis officially recognized Knock as an international Marian shrine through the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
Father Gibbons explained that at this time the National Marian Shrine is open to the public and pilgrims for the celebration of daily Mass with a limited capacity at Knock Basilica. The Sacrament of Confession is available daily along with other services including the Mass Registration Desk, the Knock Museum, and the Knock Counseling Center.
“We continue to welcome pilgrims to the Sanctuary. Anyone who visits can rest assured that Knock is a very safe place and that all precautions are in place to ensure the safety of all of our pilgrims.
“We have queue systems in place in all public buildings on the grounds of the sanctuary, as well as ushers and staff who are on hand to make sure everything is done correctly and in accordance with the latest public health guidelines. “, he added.
Throughout August, additional masses will be available. Full details are available at Knock Shrine knockshrine.ie.