Pope Francis

  • The 45,000 pilgrims that will be in Knock shrine tomorrow morning for the historic visit of Pope Francis have a very good chance of seeing the Pope within a reasonable distance as a large part of his one hour visit to the Shrine will be spent in the Pope mobile travelling through the crowds.

    That’s according to the Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons.

    There was huge disappointment in 1979 when Pope John Paul II arrived an hour and a half late in Knock from Ballybrit and as a result abandoned the scheduled pope mobile drive through the more than 300,000 that had gathered on the say.


    Management at Ireland West Airport Knock say they're delighted and honoured with yesterday's confirmation from the Vatican that Pope Francis will fly into and out of the airport as part of his visit to Knock Shrine in August.

    On Sunday 26th August, the Pope will fly into Knock Airport on a specially-chartered Aer Lingus flight from Dublin, and will travel by motorcade along the N17 to Knock village, returning to Dublin from Knock later that morning.

    It was after the first-ever Papal visit to Ireland in 1979, when Pope John Paul II visited Knock Shrine, that Monsignor Horan began his campaign to build an international airport in Mayo, and over 30 years after it opened, Knock is now the fourth-busiest airport in the country with up to 800,000 passengers expected to use the airport this year.

    Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock Joe Gilmore told Midwest News that it's a fitting tribute to Monsignor Horan's legacy that the airport will welcome Pope Francis in August.

    Meanwhile, people hoping to see the Pope in Knock on 26th August will have to apply online for tickets.

    45,000-50,000 tickets will be issued for the Knock event and 500,000 for the Pope's Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park, and tickets go on general release on 25th June.

    Patrons can register on www.worldmeeting2018.ie


  • Bus Eireann has announced it will operate additional services on the 26th August for the visit of Pope Francis to Dublin and Knock Shrine.

    Over half a million people are expected in the Phoenix Park that day where the Pope will celebrate Mass, and Gardai are urging people to use public transport to travel to the capital.

    Bus Eireann is running a number of additional services to Dublin from across the country, with a 100% increase in capacity on that particular day.

    Pope Francis will also visit Knock Shrine on the morning of Sunday 26th August, and to cater for anticipated demand, Bus Eireann is operating additional services on the Route 44 from Westport to Knock and Athlone to Knock, Route 421 from Ballina to Knock and Route 64 which runs from Galway to Knock and onto Sligo.

    In addition, Bus Eireann will operate a bus shuttle from Claremorris train station to Knock.

    For those who have a ticket for the Pope's visit, the bus shuttle service will be free of charge.

    Further details are available on Bus Eireann's website.

  • This Sunday will be "business as usual" at Ireland West Airport, even though Pope Francis will be touching down at the airport en route to Knock Shrine.

    Airport management say a full schedule of flights will operate on Sunday, and over 5,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport that day.

    However, passengers are being advised to leave plenty of time to arrive at the airport, as road closures and diversions will be in place.


    The main N17 road from Claremorris to Charlestown will be closed from midnight Saturday night until about 3pm Sunday afternoon.

    Diversions will be signposted, and most passengers will be diverted off the N5 at Cloonaghboy or Carracastle, to take the Old Airport Road.

    The access road to the airport will also be closed for a time when the Pope arrives at Knock Airport, and again when he's departing.

  • The Cathaoirleach of Mayo couynty council Richard Finn was among the many Mayo people who wrote to Pope Francis to extend an invitation to him, to visit Knock on his planned visit to Ireland in August for the World Meeting of Families.

    At yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo county council the Cathaoirleach welcomed the news that Pope Francis will visit the Marian Shrine on August 26th and said that it was wonderful news too that he will be travelling through Ireland West Airport Knock.

    Earlier this year, Cathaoirleach  Finn had requested that 100,000 euro in funding be set aside by Mayo county council as a contingency fund should Pope Francis visit the Municipal District area of Claremorris. That money is now in place.

    Richard Finn told Midwest News that the councillors are proud to host Pope Francis in their Municipal District.

  • Mayo county council has 100,000 euro set aside in the event that the Pope does visit Knock this year.

    That was confirmed by council management at the Claremorris Municipal District earlier this week.

    Ballyhaunis based councillor John Cribben had asked if the authority was prepared for such an occasion.

    He was told that the monies and planning was in place.

  • It's been confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Knock during his 2-day trip to Ireland in August.

    Details of the Pontiff's visit here have been confirmed by the Vatican and the Irish Bishops' Conference.

    The purpose of the Pope's trip to Ireland is to attend the World Meeting of Families on 25 / 26 August.

    Pope Francis will fly from Rome to Dublin on Saturday morning 25th August, arriving in Dublin at 10.30.

    His first stop is a visit to President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, and he will then visit Dublin Castle, the Pro-Cathedral and the Capuchin Day Centre for the Homeless before arriving at Croke Park on the Saturday evening for the Feast of Families.

    On Sunday 26th August, Pope Francis will fly from Dublin to Ireland West Airport Knock, arriving at 9.20 am and he will travel onto Knock Shrine for a one hour visit, arriving at 9.45 where he will be driven around the Shrine in the Popemobile, and will have time for private prayers in the Apparition Chapel before saying the Angelus on the square in front of the shrine.

    At 10.45, the Pope leaves Knock Shrine to travel back to Knock Airport and depart for Dublin, where he arrives at the Phoenix Park to celebrate Mass at 3pm.

    The Pope will meet with the Irish Bishops in Dublin on the Sunday evening before departing from Dublin Airport for Rome.

    The Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary has welcomed confirmation of the Pope's visit to Knock Shrine, where the World Meeting of Families icon was launched last August.

  • Knock Shrine has released a detailed programme for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families celebrations on Sunday week.

    They are encouraging everyone to arrive early for a ‘Gathering Event’ and to stay for the open-air celebration of the Sunday Eucharist after the Pope’s departure for Dublin.

    At 8.25am on the morning of Sunday August 26th, the bells of Knock Shine will ring out. All churches in the family of six dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of Tuam are invited to ring their bells at the same time to signal the beginning of the gathering at Knock and to extend a warm Céad Míle Fáilte to Pope Francis.

    Starting from 8.30am, there will be an uplifting Gathering Event entitled Witness to Faith and Family. With video presentations, drama and music pilgrims will be led in prayer and reflection until the arrival of the Holy Father. Focus will be on the story of Knock through the testimony of the Apparition witnesses and Pope Francis’ invitation to witness to the joy of faith and family in our contemporary world. Music for the occasion will be provided by Knock Parish Choir with guest musicians and soloists Sibéal Ní Chasáide and Anne Marie Gibbons.

    On  arrival at the Shrine, the Holy Father will move through the assembly in the Pope Mobile arriving at the Apparition Gable towards 10am where he will be met by the Rector of the Shrine Father Richard Gibbons.

    His Holiness will spend some time in silent prayer at the site of the Apparition before exiting the chapel to deliver a short address and lead pilgrims in the Angelus Prayer and imparting his Apostolic Blessing before departing for Ireland West Airport, Knock and returning to Dublin.

    Directly after the Holy Father has departed the Shrine, there will be a concelebrated open-air Mass for the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary Time. Father Richard Gibbons will be the main celebrant and the mass will be concluded by 12.30/1pm. This spiritual programme is part of the official ticketed event.

    Angelus text, a hymn sheet and general guidance/information on the liturgical events will be available for download/printing in the days prior to the event. 

    For further information visit www.knockshrine.ie/papal-visit


  • Final preparations are being put in place for tomorrow's arrival of Pope Francis to Ireland.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to travel from across the country to catch a glimpse of the Pontiff when he visits Dublin and Knock.    

    Extensive road closures and diversions will be in place across the capital on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday around Knock.

    The Taoiseach says the church has the power to enforce mandatory reporting of sex abuse.

    The issue of 'safeguarding children' will be discussed on the third and final day of the World Meeting of Families later today.

    But critics are unhappy that the event, which brings the Pope to Ireland, will spend just one hour on the topic.

    The Pontiff will meet with Leo Varadkar for a ten minute meeting tomorrow.    

  • Gardai have held a briefing today in advance of the Pope’s visit to Ireland next month.

    Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine on Sunday August 26th.


    Gardai say road closures will be in place from 6pm on Saturday evening

    From 6pm on Saturday the centre of Knock Village will be closed (except to residents). The N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

    For those who live and work near Knock, a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries, working closely with Claremorris Garda Station.

    Gardai are asking people to use a private coach or carpool to and from the event, join a parish or community coach group or carpool where possible, as car park spaces are limited and may be some walking distance from the Shrine.

    Coaches have a designated parking area on the N17. This will result in the shortest distance to walk to and from the Knock Shrine via a short walkway.

    There is a considerable walk from the car parks due to the size, scale and location of the event and there will be no shuttle bus facility available between car parks and the event site. If cars are necessary, carpooling and car sharing is essential.

    Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann will be providing public transport for this event. A bus shuttle service will operate from Claremorris train station to take people to Knock Shrine.  For those who have a ticket for the event, the bus shuttle service will be free.

    No public viewing opportunities will be available at Knock Airport.

    It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing due to security limitations.

    Those flying into and out of Ireland West Airport Knock on Sunday will have some access with strict limitations.  Only those named on airline passenger lists and those transporting named passengers will be able to access the airport between 12 midnight on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday. 

    Outbound passengers in particular are advised to allow more travel time than usual as there will be a number of security checks on airport access routes. 

    Information updated on a regular basis on www.gov.ie/popeinireland, which will direct you to all the main information website pages.

  • Pope Francis hopes to begin his historic visit to Ireland in Knock, according to today’s  Irish Independent. Organisers of the pontiff's trip are believed to be exploring the idea of having him fly directly to the west of Ireland rather than Dublin as anticipated.

    When the Pope’s visit to Ireland was officially confirmed some weeks ago, Dublin was the only venue confirmed – Knock was not ruled out – but certainly wasn’t ruled in either.

    This morning Midwest News has contacted Knock Shrine and we were told that they have not been informed of any new developments regarding the Pope’s visit.

    However, according to the paper there has been much speculation about the type of welcome the Pope will receive - but sources say gardaí have concerns that as many as 650,000 people will want to see him in the Phoenix Park on August 26.

    By holding another event at Knock a day earlier they hope to offer an alternative viewing opportunity for people.

    "The Phoenix Park can cope with the crowds once they are inside but getting them safely to and from the Mass would be the problem," a source  has told the paper.

    The Vatican tends to remain tight-lipped about the Pope's itinerary until shortly before he travels to a country.

    It has been confirmed that the first papal visit in nearly 40 years will take place to coincide with the World Meeting of Families in Dublin between August 21-26. Pope Francis (81) is scheduled to take part in a ceremony in Croke Park on August 25, before celebrating Mass in Phoenix Park the following day.

    Well-placed sources involved in logistical planning for the visit have indicated to the Irish Independent, that Knock is now firmly on the agenda. One proposal is for the pontiff to fly directly to Knock Airport, which in itself would be an historic occasion.

    Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Knock shrine during his visit in 1979. He described his visit there as "the goal of my journey to Ireland".

    Pope Francis has prayed at a number of Marian shrines while on tours to other countries, including last year when he honoured two children who saw Mary in the Portuguese town of Fátima.

    It is likely that if the Pope flies directly from Rome to Knock, he will then use air transport to get to Dublin in time for a ticketed event in Croke Park.

  • Intercity rail users will have to book tickets in advance if they wish to travel on the day of the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Irish Rail has said.

    The company says extra trains will operate on all intercity routes to and from Dublin including a high frequency Dart and Commuter service on Sunday August 26th.

    In Mayo, the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed to traffic from 12 midnight on Saturday August 25th for the Papal visit to Knock on Sunday morning and is due to re-open again at 3pm.

    However, it may remain closed later than the scheduled 3pm on Sunday afternoon, if people opt in large numbers to travel to Knock by car.

    The possible longer closure time of the N17 between Claremorris and Charlestown  was outlined by  Garda Superintendent Tom Calvey at a press conference in Knock last week.

    He said that while the N17 is scheduled to be closed to traffic from midnight on Saturday the 25th to 3pm on the Sunday, that time frame will be extended if cars are parked along the N17.

    91 percent of people applying for a ticket for the Pope’s visit to Knock have indicated last June that they will be arriving by car to the Shrine. If that happened, more than 20,000 cars will have to be parked, but the gardai are urging the public to avail of the public transport that is being provided or to come by private coach or bus to reduce the walking that will have to be done on the day.


    Irish Rail is advising that intercity rail users will have to book tickets in advance if they want to travel on Sunday August 26th to the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

    Capacity is to be stepped up to cater for up to 250,000 passenger journeys on the day.

    The company is warning that advance booking of Intercity train travel “is mandatory” and applies to regular and extra services, morning and evening, whether the passenger is going to the Mass or not.

    A spokesman stressed that intercity train tickets would not be available for sale on the day and that there would be no access for anyone who does not have a ticket or reservation.

    Existing ticket holders, including free-travel-pass holders and season-ticket holders should also note an advance reservation is essential for travel, the company said.


    In other Papal news this morning, people attending the papal mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park should make sure their vaccinations are up to date.

    At least half a million people will descend on the capital for Pope Francis' mass on Sunday the 26th of August including visitors from over 116 countries.

    The Health Protection Surveillance Centre says any large gathering carries "unique health risks". It says in the current context of the ongoing measles spread in Europe, children in particular should be up to date with their jabs.


  • Just over a mile is now confirmed as the furthest anyone will have to walk to access Knock Shrine from any car park on Sunday morning next for the visit of pope Francis.

     That was confirmed today by Garda Superintendent Tom Calvey of Claremorris garsda station.

    That is a considerably shorter distance than was anticipated some weeks ago by the gardai, as many pilgrims have taken on the advice, and have now opted to travel by coach or use public transport.

    There will be car parking facilities for the majority of car users on Sunday at Ballyhowley, just over a mile from Knock Shrine, the rest will be accommodated at a car park on the Kiltimagh side of Knock, close to the turn for the N17 as you approach the village.

    Anyone arriving by bus or coach will have less than a mile to walk to the Shrine.

    Supt Calvey told Midwest News today that it is absolutely essential that anyone arriving in Knock on Sunday has a ticket for the event.

  • The Parish Priest of Knock is still holding out some hope that Pope Francis will visit the Shrine during this visit to Ireland this Summer.

    It was confirmed last week that the Pope will be in Dublin on 25 and 26th August for the World Meeting of Families.

    Dublin was the only location confirmed in the press statements issued last week, but Fr Richard Gibbons says the Pope’s schedule has not yet been finalised.

    He told Midwest Radio toda  that he’s still hoping that Pope Francis may fit in a visit to Our Lady’s Shrine in Knock but nothing has been confirmed, one way or the other….

  • Knock Shrine insist it has not received any confirmation on Pope Francis visiting Knock this August, despite a report in today’s Irish Daily Mail.

    A headline story in today’s paper reads “Revealed: Pope’s flying visit to Knock”.

    It goes on to say the Pope will journey by helicopter for a morning visit to the Marian Shrine and to celebrate Mass, before returning to Dublin on Sunday for Mass in the Phoenix Park.

    However, despite the detailed breakdown in the paper of the Pope’s itinerary when he visits Ireland on August 25th and 26th for the World Meeting of Families, a spokesperson for Knock Shrine told Midwest News today that they have received no confirmation of Pope Francis visiting Knock.

  • 80 percent of people here say the visit of pope Francis this weekend to Ireland hasn't changed their view of the church.

    An Ipsos MRBI Poll in the Irish Times also indicates that over half of people don't think the Pope went far enough when he addressed clerical abuse.

    The poll suggests around 400 thousand people saw the Pontiff at various public events over the weekend.

    Meanwhile, a former papal nuncio to the US, claims Pope Francis knew about a cover up of abuse, but did nothing.

    Peter Isley from the survivors group 'Ending Clergy Abuse' says canon law needs to change

  • The eyes of the world will be on Knock Shrine for the best part of two hours on Sunday next, when Pope Francis visits the Marian Shrine, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to put the location on the international stage. That’s according to the Chief Executive of Mayo county council Peter Hynes.

     Council staff havebeen working with Fr Richard Gibbons and staff at Knock Shrine in the last number of months preparing for the occasion, even before the visit was officially announced.

    Mr Hynes told Midwest News today about the unique opportunity the Papal visit to Knock presents for the county.

    More than a thousand dinners will be served on Sunday at the only hotel in Knock village, Knock House Hotel.

    Hotel Manager Brian Crowley, says it’s a very exciting time for everyone in Knock – businesses and the local community.

  • Mayo Civil Defence is in charge of coordinating 140 volunteers to assist the emergency services for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland West Airport Knock and Knock Shrine on Sunday.

    Volunteers from Donegal, Roscommon, Laois, Sligo and Galway will join Mayo Civil Defence in assisting the primary response units on Saturday night into Sunday.

    Civil Defence will provide a range of equipment including 11 ambulances, 9 fire appliances, 19 heavy vehicles including four wheel drives, large vans and medium size trucks and 2 minibuses for transportation and logistics. A number of volunteers will also support the Gardaí with drone capability if required. Dublin Civil Defence will also provide a communications vehicle using the TETRA network to ensure efficient communications between all volunteers and with the Gardaí and National Ambulance Service if required. Civil Defence will also have a welfare unit in operation to provide food for all volunteers on duty over the Saturday night and Sunday.

  • Pope Francis' visit to Ireland cost 4.2 million euro in Garda overtime, according to new figures.

    The Pontiff's 38-hour visit to Dublin and Knock came before mass in the Phoneix Park last August.

    His trip to Knock Shrine  contributed to Mayo's Garda overtime bill increasing by 19 per cent. 

  • The Rosary beads that the Pope presented in Knock yesterday will be put on public display beside the golden rose, presented by the late Pope John Paul II IN 1979, in an exhibition area beside the old church at the shrine.

    That was confirmed today by the Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons, who also told Midwest News that the specially designed chair that the Pope sat on while meditating in silence in the Apparition Chapel yesterday will be put on display in Knock Museum.Fr Gibbons told Midwest Radio today that a stunning silence descended on the 45,000 strong crowd in Knock as Pope Francis entered the Apparition chapel yesterday

     The by now famous Mayo jersey, that was signed by Pope Francis at Knock airport yesterday is to be homed in the aviation museum at the airport.

     That was confirmed this morning by Audrey Eliot, the staff member at Ireland West Airport Knock who asked Pope Francis to put his signature on the jersey yesterday.

    Ms. Eliot works in the marketing dept of IWAK and she told Midwest Radio today that she often asks famous people passing through the facility to sign a Mayo jersey – citing Noel Gallagher of Oasis and former Liverpool footballer Ian Rushe as recently having added their signatures to such memorabilia.