Bishops plan pilgrimage to Knock in memory of those who died during pandemic

Bishops plan pilgrimage to Knock in memory of those who died during pandemic St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

The bishops of Ireland plan to undertake a pilgrimage to the International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine in Knock to concelebrate Mass for all those who have died in Ireland throughout the pandemic, and their families.

The bishops will also offer prayers of thanksgiving “for all those who so selflessly sacrificed so much” during the pandemic.

The November 14 Mass will be live-streamed on www.knockshrine.ie and broadcast on RTÉ News Now at 3.00pm.

During their Autumn 2021 General Meeting in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference first in-person gathering since the start of the pandemic, the bishops reflected on the “heartbreak suffered [by] many thousands of families throughout Ireland who experienced the death of a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The bishops acknowledged the additional distress caused by the restrictions, particularly in how they limited the number of people who could “mourn together and offer the customary supports at this most sensitive time for families”.

The bishops also discussed the crisis of housing and homelessness as “a key social justice challenge for this generation”.

The recent correspondence from Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien on this issue was also on the agenda, and the bishops announced that it is their intention to respond to the Minister’s letter over the coming days.

Other items dicussed at the General Meeting included climate action and support of the ‘Healthy Planet, Healthy People’ petition in advance of COP15 and COP26; the opening of the Universal Synod this coming weekend, as well as updates on the Synodal Pathway in Ireland; and funding for the Family Addiction Support Network (FASN).

Bishop Ger Nash was also welcomed as the newest member of the Bishops’ Conference, following his appointment by Pope Francis on 11 June as Bishop of Ferns, before offering prayers for Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop Emeritus of Ferns, wishing him well in his retirement.