10 September 2010
Fourth National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Knock Shrine this Sunday to be led by Bishop McAreavey
• Prayers by grandchildren from across the country, about their grandparents, will be blessed during the pilgrimage
• Special web feature with Bishop McAreavey video interview and highlights from 2009 pilgrimage on www.catholicbishops.ie
Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore, will be chief celebrant at the Mass celebrating the fourth National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Knock Shrine, Co Mayo, this Sunday 12 September. More than 10,000 grandparents from across Ireland, along with their families, are expected to attend this year’s pilgrimage.
The National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage was founded by Catherine Wiley, a grandmother from Co Mayo, who wanted to do something to support and affirm grandparents and the important role that they play in families, the Church and society. Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, is Patron.
A new association for Grandparents was launched as part of the 2009 Pilgrimage. The Catholic Grandparents’ Association (CGA) has been established to support grandparents and to affirm them in the important mission of handing on the faith to the next generation. The CGA was formally blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in August 2010. The blessing was received by Catherine Wiley, founder of the CGA. The text of Pope Benedict’s blessing reads as follows:
“Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI invokes God’s Blessings of Joy and Peace upon you and all of the Association. Make them [grandparents] teachers of wisdom and courage, that they may pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience.”
Notes to Editors
- The 2010 National Grandparents Pilgrimage Mass will take place in Knock Shrine, Co Mayo on Sunday, 12 September, at 3pm, preceded by Anointing of the Sick at 2.00pm.
- Bishop John McAreavey will be Principal Celebrant and he will preach the homily. Breda O’Brien, teacher and ‘Irish Times’ columnist will offer a reflection at the pilgrimage.
- The music will be led by Michael English, Dana and Chloe Coyle from Tyrone, winner of RTÉ’s 2010 All-Ireland’s Talent show. Choral singing by the Mayo School of Music Youth Choir, Cill Aodáin Choral Society and Our Lady’s Choir, Castlebar.
- The first National Grandparents Pilgrimage was held in Knock Shrine in 2007. Over 5,000 people attended this pilgrimage. Since then up to 10,000 grandparents and their families have been coming to the pilgrimage.
- A National Prayer appeal has been launched in the run up to this year’s pilgrimage. Grandchildren from across the country have written prayers for and about their grandparents. These will be blessed at this year’s pilgrimage.
- See www.catholicbishops.ie for a special web feature on Ireland’s National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage.
- In 2008, a dedicated universal ‘Prayer for Grandparents’ was written by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage. This special prayer was presented for the first time in Knock at that year’s pilgrimage by Catherine Wiley, Co-ordinator of the pilgrimage, and it reads:
you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families strong pillars of Gospel faith, guardian of noble domestic ideals, living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage, that they may pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience.
help families and society
to value the presence and roles of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care, accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage, and by your prayers, grant that all families may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland, where you await all humanity for the great embrace of life without end. Amen
Martin Long, Director of Communications 00 353 86 172 7678