Photos: jbs photos Kilkenny
On Monday 21st August, the 144th anniversary of the apparition at Knock, Fr Dan Carroll with Fr Joseph Lubula led a pilgrimage from St John’s Parish to the International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine. As Tom Cullen eased the coach out of the church grounds at 7.15am the day of faith and friendship began for the 53 parishioners.
The long journey to Knock included a stop at the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, for breakfast. Replenished and refreshed the group continued the journey arriving just in time for midday Mass. The inclement weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the group as they visited the various area of religious significance. At 2.30pm the group reassembled as the afternoon religious programme began with the sacrament of Healing, followed by concelebrated Mass in the Basilica.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies the group departed for home. Again, there was a stop for sustenance in Tullamore after which the parishioners began the final part of the journey and arrived home safely, at 10.30pm.
(To the relief of Fr Dan all 53 passengers disembarked from the coach).
Speaking on behalf of the group Seán O’ Neill had words of praise for Fr Dan and Fr Joseph who led the pilgrimage with sincerity and kindness. Seán also acknowledged the integral roles of Jane Dineen and Áine Butler in overseeing the minutiae involved in the detailed organisation of the trip.
Fr Dan Carroll, Team Leader in St John’s Parish, thanked all who had participated in the pilgrimage for their prayerful devotion and for their warm interactions. “I will always remember this as the friendly pilgrimage” he remarked. Concluding, a smiling Fr Dan stated that “adhering to pilgrimage tradition we prayed ‘The Rosary’ during the coach journey. However, I have never before witnessed such a unique recitation, as the decades were recited in Irish, English, Latin, Italian and Ugandan.”
Participant reflection in the immediate aftermath indicates that the pilgrimage achieved all its goals and was a spiritual, inspiring, moving and enjoyable occasion.
Further vindication was the desire of the entire group to renew the experience in 2024.