Press Release: Grandparents to gather at Knock Shrine for National Pilgrimage and to celebrate the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 

Sunday 24 July will see grandparents from across Ireland gathering in Knock Shrine for their annual pilgrimage which coincides with the celebration of the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the newly introduced universal celebration instituted by Pope Francis last year.

This year’s pilgrimage will mark a number of firsts: it will be the first gathering of Grandparents since the pandemic; it will be the first Grandparents Pilgrimage to be celebrated with the newly installed Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Francis Duffy, who is also the patron of the Catholic Grandparents Association; and it will be the first time that the CGA has been able to celebrate the World Day in person!

Commenting on this year’s event, Catherine Wiley, Founder of the CGA said, “We have missed gathering with each other from across the country for our National Grandparents Pilgrimage to the beautiful Shrine and Basilica at Knock. Next Sunday will be the first time we have been able to be together for the pilgrimage since the pandemic and it will be the first time we have been able to celebrate the wonderful gift of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly which Pope Francis instituted into the universal Church last year.  The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year’s celebration is: “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Psalm 92:15).

“The Catholic Grandparents Association has been at the forefront in campaigning for a greater recognition of Grandparents for their role and vocation in passing on their faith to the next generation. The announcement of a new Church-wide celebration for Grandparents and the Elderly came in answer to our prayerful request to the Holy Father Pope Francis. This new worldwide celebration in the Universal Church calendar is a momentous achievement for Grandparents and the Elderly and will hopefully reassure them that they are loved and that they are needed.”

Ms Wiley continued, “We are very much looking forward to celebrating with Archbishop Duffy, our patron and with Grandparents and their families from across Ireland. We will also have a large audience tuned in from around the world to the online stream of the pilgrimage Mass.

“The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will also be celebrated in parishes across Ireland. The CGA has prepared resources for parishes for the day which include a ‘plant a tree’ initiative, a book of remembrance, a peace card and the children’s prayer appeal.

“For those coming along on Sunday you will receive a warm welcome to Knock and to the CGA family. Anointing of the Sick will commence at 2.30pm and the Pilgrimage Mass will begin at 3.00pm. There will also be the wonderful procession with families and young people and the wonderful music by the choirs at Knock Shrine. We are also very much looking forward to welcoming Dana to sing Lady of Knock, which has become a much loved feature of the pilgrimage Mass. All are welcome.”

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Catherine Wiley is available for interview. Please email requests to