Cardinal Dolan and the New York pilgrims who accompany him will be making a bit of history on the archdiocesan pilgrimage to Ireland’s National Marian Shrine in Knock this August.
The Cardinal will open Ireland’s annual National Novena in honor of Our Lady of Knock at a Mass he will celebrate Friday, Aug. 14, in the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, in Knock.
The nine-day pilgrimage, which leaves from JFK International Airport Aug. 8 and returns to New York Aug. 16, will be the first official chartered pilgrimage to Knock from North America. It will also initiate Aer Lingus airline’s trans-Atlantic service from the United States directly to Ireland West Airport Knock.
Father Richard Gibbons, P.P., the rector of Knock Shrine, said in a statement that the pilgrimage from New York would be “a very important and historic step” for the promotion of Knock, Ireland’s National Marian Shrine. He also said it was “hugely significant” that the archdiocese was “deepening its relationship” with Knock Shrine.
St. John Paul II dedicated the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, during a 1979 visit near the beginning of his pontificate. Also popular with pilgrims is the shrine’s Chapel of the Apparition where the Blessed Mother appeared a century earlier.
“Knock Shrine holds a special place in the hearts of our Diaspora and, in the Catholic tradition, pilgrimage plays a significant role in renewing people’s faith and we are delighted to facilitate that,” Father Gibbons said.
Highlights of the Knock pilgrimage itinerary include an opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan in the Chapel of the Apparition at Knock Shrine Aug. 9. The cardinal will also celebrate a morning liturgy the following day in Lough Derg, an island sanctuary of St. Patrick that the pilgrims will reach by boat.
Aug. 11 and 12 will feature stops at the Cliffs of Moher rising above the Atlantic Ocean and the Lakes of Killarney. Cardinal Dolan will celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney on the second day.
On Aug. 13, a day trip to the Dingle Peninsula will feature an outdoor liturgy at the Mass Rock site.
Daniel Frascella, in his capacity as director of adult faith formation, is serving as archdiocesan coordinator for pilgrimages. In November, he organized the first archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the new St. John Paul II National Shrine, both in Washington, D.C.
He told CNY he expects the pilgrimage to Ireland will be the first of a regular schedule of international pilgrimages.
“There is a rich history and heritage, especially in the Western region of Ireland, we’re hoping to bring pilgrims to with the Cardinal,” Frascella said.
“People of Irish descent in New York can reconnect with the spiritual heritage that is part of so many Catholics in the archdiocese,” he added.
Peter’s Way Tours is the tour operator. The discounted package price, including a shared room, is $3,395 per person, plus $150 in taxes and fees. Information: www.petersway.com