Knock Shrine has decided to close the Shrine and grounds this Saturday, the 15th August.
This decision was taken after detailed discussions with Church and State bodies.
The Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons is appealing to people , not to travel to Knock for the 15th August, as the Shrine and grounds will be closed off to everyone in order to prevent large gatherings.
As has already been announced, the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock
(14th – 22nd August) has been postponed due to the pandemic. This decision was taken to prevent gatherings of large numbers of people for the Novena.
The 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption, would normally be the most highly attended day during the National Novena. In previous years the Shrine would be open from 5am for Confessions. The first Mass would take place at 6am for people who would traditionally walk to Knock during the previous night and early morning. Masses would continue practically every hour until evening for enormous numbers of people coming from all over the country and beyond. For that day alone over 20,000 people would usually visit the Shrine.
Fr Gibbons told Midwest News today that “in the light of the current escalation of Covid-19 cases around the country together with the sheer impossibility of having the resources necessary to deal with the potential of large numbers of people gathering at the Shrine for the 15th August and being extremely conscious of our responsibility for the safety of our parishioners, pilgrims, visitors, staff, volunteers and priests, Knock Shrine has taken the unprecedented and heart-breaking decision to close the Shrine and grounds for the 15th August only”.
The Shrine and grounds will be closed from 8pm on Friday 14th to 7am on Sunday 16th August. Masses will be celebrated online only and behind closed doors at 12, 3pm and 7.30pm.