Over 4,000 Irish grandparents, who attended the first-ever National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage in Knock Shrine last year, have inspired Pope Benedict XV1 to write a new prayer in honour of grandparents all over the world – and it will be given its first recital ever in Knock next Sunday.
Following the success of the pilgrimage last September, which saw 4,000 grandparents join with over 1,000 family and friends at the special celebrations, the Pontiff has responded by penning a Prayer For Grandparents.
And now the countdown is on to Sunday, September 14th, when the contents of the prayer will be revealed for the very first time at this year’s pilgrimage in Knock, Co. Mayo.
“We are absolutely delighted with the news that Pope Benedict XV1 has written this prayer. I first wrote to him 18 months ago, outlining our plans for the pilgrimage,” said Co. Mayo grandmother Catherine Wiley, the driving force behind the pilgrimage.
“Earlier this year, I was invited to address a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Family, at which I spoke about the role of grandparents in society and in the church today.
“It is clear that the Vatican is interested in exploring the value of grandparents who, in many cases, are the people holding families together at time of great social change.
“Grandparents are also crucial figures in transmitting the faith from generation to generation, and the fact that His Holiness the Pope has recognised this fact with this new prayer will mean a great deal to Catholic grandparents all over the world.”
The Prayer must remain a secret until next Sunday’s second annual pilgrimage. “Last year, the Basilica was filled to capacity, and we are hoping for another huge crowd this year,” said Catherine.
“I got the idea for the pilgrimage when I started to realise just how important a part grandmothers and grandfathers play in so many families. They are baby-sitters when parents are so busy with their working lives, and they also have a unique relationship with their grandchildren.”
The chief celebrant of this year’s pilgrimage will be Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, and keynote speaker will be well-known religious affairs writer David Quinn. Spiritual singer Liam Lawton performing some of his best-known music.
Grandparents looking for information on the Pilgrimage can log onto www.nationalgrandparentspilgrimage.com.