THE annual Knock Novena drew to a close last week, with well in excess of 100,000 having attended the nine-day festival of faith which has become the biggest single attraction at Knock Shrine in recent decades.
“This was a very successful Novena, and the crowds were well up on recent years,” said Sean Egan of Knock FM. “The weather held up well too, and the people were able to go out on the processions on 13 of the 18 occasions, which was excellent too. A lot of people enjoy the processions, especially the night-time one which has such a special atmosphere.”
In keeping with tradition, the two biggest days at the Novena were August 15 and 21, with the Basilica full to capacity for the dual ceremonies on both days.
One of the listed speakers, Fr Harry Bohan from Clare, was unable to make it to Knock because of ill health. The well-known campaigner for rural life (and former Clare hurling selector) has been coping with an illness for sometime). Nevertheless, he scripted an address which was read to the congregations by Fr Richard Gibbons, Knock.
One of the best-received homilies during the Novena was that delivered by Knock PP, Msgr Joe Quinn, who spoke on the life and times of Fr James Horan on the opening day of the Novena. There was also considerable interest in the address by Irish Times journalist John Waters, a native of Castlerea.
A number of well-known singers also took part, including Michael English, John McNicholl, James Kilbane and Annette Griffin, along with several parish choirs from various parts of the country. The chief organist was Una Nolan, and she was assisted by Frankie Forde-Waldron.
The local Order of Malta team was on stand-by throughout, while the Knock ‘stewards’ and ‘handmaids’ brought their own well-honed skills and diplomacy to the entire undertaking.
Knock FM broadcast all the ceremonies throughout the local area during the nine-day event. Once again, Seán Egan and his team did a fine job. The station signed off for another year around 10.30pm last night.