Knock National Novena 2018 August 14th-22nd

    Ardagh & Clonmacnois Diocesan Pilgrimage to Knock Sunday, September 2nd 2018

    We may be focused on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families but don’t forget the annual National Novena at Knock continues from August 14th to the 22nd.

    The National Novena to Our Lady of Knock will take place from 14 – 22 August

    This year will be the 41st celebration of the Novena, and such an important year as we prepare the way for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin. The theme for this year’s Novena is ‘Faith & Family’, and will draw from the key topics and themes related to family drawn from Pope Francis’ teachings in The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia).

    The original intention behind hosting the Novena was to recognise the unique role that Knock has to play in the life of the Irish Church and to honour Our Lady, the Mother of God. It has grown in recent years to include daily workshops which offer pilgrims the opportunity to discuss and reflects on the daily themes and also to engage with the speakers, many of whom are internationally renowned authors and religious figures.

    Fr Richard Gibbons, Rector of the Shrine feels it is important to give pilgrims the chance to engage on and discuss issues that that are topical and relevant in the Church today;

    “The daily celebrations, sermons and processions are a very important part of the Novena tradition, however in recent years we have noticed a greater desire from pilgrims for discussion, reflection and the chance to engage on contemporary Church issues. The daily workshops which are help throughout the Novena give them the opportunity to do that. We also have a Bookshop here in the Shrine which is a wonderful resource for those that want to deepen aspects of their faith or to simply learn more about different ways of praying and other spiritual elements.”

    “This year’s Novena will end on high as we await the visit of His Holiness and look forward to what will be a splendid and historic day for the Shrine and the village.”

    Pilgrims from all over the world will have the opportunity to tune in as all of the Novena ceremonies will be streamed live on the watch page and also via the Shrine Facebook page @KnockShrine

    This years speakers are as follows:


    Author Jim DeedsTuesday 14th August:
    ‘Finding God in the Mess’
    SpeakerJim Deeds, Writer and Broadcaster

    Mass: 3pm & 8.30 pm
    Workshops: 12 noon & 6pm

    Jim works in pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Down & Connor with people, groups and parish communities. As a freelance facilitator, Jim helps groups to approach pastoral planning from an Ignatian discernment perspective.  A published poet and author, Jim is the co-author of ‘Finding God in the mess’. Jim will speak at the Novena on some guiding principles to help us all from God in everyday life – messy or otherwise.

    Order Jim Deeds’ books  at Knock Shrine Bookshop 




    Wednesday 15th August
    ‘The Strength of the Family
    Speaker:        Most Rev Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam

    Mass:        3pm & 8.30pm

    Ahead of the International World meeting of Families, Archbishop Neary will reflect on the challenges facing families today across the country and the challenge of bringing the teaching of Christ into every corner of Life – our home, our work and our leisure, the sick and the dying, the bereaved and those who have special needs.




    Author Olive ShaughnessyWorkshops: 12 noon & 6pm
    ‘Keeping Faith while living with Sickness’
    Speaker: Olive Shaughnessy, Blogger and Author   

    Olive, from Loughrea, Co. Galway, is a mother of four who is living with stage 4 metastatic cancer. She has written a book entitled ‘My Olive Branch – my second chance’ about her cancer journey with her family. To date it has sold over 4000 copies and she has received incredible feedback from all over the world.

    Olive’s book is available to order at Knock Shrine Book Shop



    Thursday 16th August
    ‘The Family: A work in progress’

    Speaker: Fr. Stephen Farragher, PP Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo

    Mass 3 pm & 8.30 pm

    Fr. Stephen is Parish Priest of Ballyhaunis. A native of The Neale, he was appointed to the teaching staff at St. Jarlath’s collage Tuam following ordination. He served for two years as Pastoral and Youth Director at Knock Shrine. In 2011 he was appointed PP of Ballyhaunis, He is the Director of the Permanent Diaconate Programme in the Archdiocese of Tuam and is also the Director of Knock Marriage Introductions.



    Workshops 12 noon & 6 pm
    ‘Let the Children come to Jesus: Child friendly liturgies’

    Speaker: Kathleen Duffy, Retreat Director & Coordinator of Children’s Liturgies

    For the past 11 years Kathleen has been involved in the planning of the weekly Children’s Masses in St. Patrick’s Church, Ballina, Co. Mayo.  She works with the Retreat Prayer Team where she helps organise and facilitate guided meditation, retreat days and individual Spiritual Directions. She is a member of Towards Peace an initiative set up by the Irish Bishops, offering help and healing to those affected by abuse within the Catholic Church.



    Friday 17th August
    ‘Now you’re talking: a spirituality for authentic communication in the 21st Century’

    Speaker: Pat Coyle, Director Jesuit Communications Ireland

    Masses: 3pm & 8.30pm
    Workshops: 12 noon and 6 pm

    Pat is originally from Derry but has spent a large part of her life in Dublin where she studied Philosophy & English in UCD. She was a lecturer in philosophy before joining the BBC in Belfast in 1988, when she started a new career in journalism. She is currently working for the Jesuits in Ireland as their Director of Communications. She is a qualified Spiritual Director and lectures and conducts e-seminars in Ireland and abroad in communications, faith and spirituality.



    Bishop Alan McGuckianSaturday 18th August
    ‘The Best Wine’

    Speaker: Most Rev. Alan Mc Guckian, Bishop of Raphoe

    Mass: 3pm
    Bishop Alan is a native of Cloughmills, Co. Antrim and has been Bishop of Raphoe since 2017.  As a Jesuit priest, he worked in Communications for many years. In recent years, Bishop Mc Guckian ran the Living Church Office in the Diocese of Down & Connor.





     ‘The Church as Family of Families: Tending the Door’
    Mass: 8.30pm

    Speaker: Maeve Mahon, Coordinator for Primary Education, Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin
    Workshops: 12 noon and 6 pm

    Maeve is co- author with Martin Delaney of Do This in Memory, a parish based programme for First Holy Communion and, with Julie Kavanagh, of ‘Baptism: A welcome for your child.’ She has also written You Shall be My Witnesses a programme of parish based preparation for confirmation.  She has coordinated the development of resources for Catholic Schools Week.

    Maeve’s publications are available to order at Knock Shrine Book Shop


    Sunday 19th August
    ‘Family:  The First School of Human Values’

    Speaker: Most  Rev. Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin

    Mass: 3pm

    Bishop Kevin’s Family home is in Dun Laoghaire and most of his working life as a priest was spent in Dublin and Wicklow. He has been Bishop of Elphin since July 2014. He is a member of the Council for Marriage and Family, the Council for Justice and Peace, the Council for Healthcare and he chairs the Consultative Group on Bioethics and Life Questions of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.





    Family Fun Day at Knock Shrine takes place from 12 noon to 3pm. A day to celebrate one of God’s greatest gifts – the family. This day offers something for everyone. There will be various workshops such as drumming, kite design, arts and crafts, prayer, games, care for the earth, face painting and much more.


    The day open to everyone of all ages and promises to be a day full of faith, fun and family.