By Vatican News staff reporter
Just two months ago, Pope Francis recognised the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock as an International Marian and Eucharistic Shrine.
Now, in another important milestone, the Pope has invited this sanctuary to join the ongoing marathon prayer initiative in May to implore an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The International Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, located in the west of Ireland, is one of thirty shrines around the world to be included in the prayer initiative where the Rosary is recited at 6:00 pm (CET) each day.
Welcoming the invitation, the Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary said, “The International Shrine of Our Lady of Knock welcomes the Holy Father’s heartfelt wish that the month of May will be dedicated to a ‘marathon’ of prayer, to ask for the end of the pandemic, which has afflicted the world for more than a year now.”
The Archbishop also commended Pope Francis’ wish “to involve all the Marian shrines around the world in this initiative, so that they may become vehicles of the prayer of the universal Church.”
General Audience appeal
In an appeal during the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis said, “Guided by Shrines around the world, in this month of May we pray the Rosary to invoke the end of the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities.”
Today, he continued, “the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in Namyang, South Korea, leads this Marian prayer. We join with those gathered at this Shrine, praying especially for children and adolescents.”
Knock, a history
The story of the apparition at Knock is a deeply symbolic and unique one, featuring the representation of the Eucharist as the risen Lord which appeared as the Lamb on the altar, standing before His Cross and surrounded by a host of angels.
On 21 August 1879, fifteen people in the village of Knock stood for two hours in the pouring rain reciting the Rosary before the Apparition scene, which also featured Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist.
The Shrine also participated at the inaugural “Sunday of the Word of God” Mass presided over by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica in January 2020.
Participation at Knock
Pope Francis launched the marathon of prayer at the Vatican on 1 May, during which he blessed special Rosaries, one of which will be sent to the Marian Shrine at Knock. The Pope will also conclude the month of prayer from the Vatican on 31 May.
The Rosary from Knock on Monday, 10 May, will have the special intention of prayer for all people with disabilities.
Archbishop Michael Neary will preside over the recitation, assisted by the Parish Priest of Knock and Rector of the International Shrine, Father Richard Gibbons as the Rosary is recited at 6:00 pm (CET).
It will be live streamed on the Knock Shrine website https://www.knockshrine.ie/watch-live/ and on the Knock Shrine Facebook page, as well as across Vatican News’ platforms.
The marathon of prayer initiative is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.