‘Mary reminds us that God’s heart is close to those whom the world might overlook’ – Archbishop Neary

On Saturday 21 August last, Archbishop Michael Neary celebrated the Anniversary Mass of the 1879 Marian Apparition at the International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine, Knock, Co Mayo.

During his homily, Archbishop Neary said, “After this challenging experience of Covid-19, it is understandable that our faith might be shaken. We have lost loved ones, perhaps lost jobs, witnessed brothers and sisters becoming depressed and lonely. We are unable to rely on what we had considered the usual support systems in the same way as we used. When we are inclined to close doors and perhaps experience circumstances in which doors are closed in front of us, we need Mary to open those doors and lead us into a bigger, broader, more joyful world. She does this in her Magnificat but she also did it silently here at Knock and continues to do it when we approach her in prayer.”

Archbishop Neary continued, “At a time when the voice of women, their insights, perspectives and antennae are absolutely crucial for the mission of the Church, surely the place and the role of Mary as a woman of indomitable courage, buoyant hope, resilient faith, exuberant joy, gentleness and strength has something very important to teach us today, particularly at a time when those qualities are so necessary if we are to engage with and endeavour to influence our culture today.”

In conclusion, the Archbishop of Tuam said, “One hundred and forty-two years ago this evening the Apparition of Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist, with the Lamb on the Altar and the Cross in the background lasted for about two hours. While no words were spoken, Mary was effectively saying that Knock will continue to be a special place for all who wish to make contact with her and with her Son, Jesus Christ. As you come here this evening or join us online, our faith tells us that we are approaching someone who is listening to our cares, able to sympathise with us in our struggles and wants to encourage and support us.

“Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to your people in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to your divine Son, remembering His promise, ‘Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.’”

To read the full homily, click here.


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