‘Embrace the hope that faith can offer’ – Archbishop Neary

More than 150,000 pilgrims from throughout Ireland and from abroad will have by the end of this week attended the 2015 national novena to Our Lady of Knock at the National Marian Shrine in Co Mayo.

Commenting on the opening day of the novena – which involves the celebration of prayer, reflections and faith-based workshops – Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, said pilgrims had come to Knock “praying for guidance” and to “further discern their faith”.

The archbishop urged those in attendance who found themselves at a “crossroads” in their lives to “embrace the hope that faith can offer”.


“Pilgrims come to Knock – a place of hope – for so many reasons, whether they are praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit, seeking to further discern their faith, and/or as a holy place of personal or family retreat during the holiday period.  

“For those who are at crossroads in their own lives, and in particular I am thinking of students who have received their final school examination results this week, I urge all to embrace the hope that faith can offer us in our lives,” he said.

Noting that this year’s national novena marked the arrival of the first transatlantic flight to Knock from the United States, Archbishop Neary offered “a warm Irish welcome” to the “pioneering” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and to the pilgrims who accompanied him from New York. 

“Knock looks forward to greeting many more pilgrim-friends from the States in the years to come,” he said.