FOR over 50 years it played Cupid, bringing 960 couples up the aisle to tie the knot in Catholic ceremonies but Knock Marriage Introductions – more widely known as the Knock Marriage Bureau – is, ‘with heavy hearts’ hanging up its boots. With ‘cosmic courting’ increasingly becoming more of an online adventure, the intervention and advice of God’s emissaries here on earth has become less popular in recent years, leaving the service’s future unsustainable and economically unviable.
Announcing its closure last week, Director Father Stephen Farragher, said: “In recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the demand for the service offered by Knock Marriage Introductions, to the point that is no longer viable to run the service. The annual subscriptions from clients who have used the service have had to be supplemented in recent years by donations from dioceses around Ireland. Obviously this is not sustainable long term. It is for these reasons that the Board of Directors of Knock Marriage Introductions have decided at a recent meeting to wind down the agency.”
Established by Fr Michael Keane in the 1960s at a time when ‘emigration was rife’ and the ‘means of communication’ were ‘practically non-existent’ in comparison to contemporary forms, the service was defined by its ‘personal nature’, sense of safety and confidentiality.
Fr Farragher added: “We wish to express our gratitude to all who worked for the agency, especially the women who answered the calls and who were responsible for making the introductions. We extend particular thanks to Father Michael Keane, who was the founder and first director, and to Canon Joe Cooney, who took over the mantle from him and was director until his retirement two years ago.”