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Boston pilgrims make historic pilgrimage to Ireland's Knock Shrine


Cardinal O'Malley returns to family homestead in Mayo and celebrates Mass at the Shrine of Knock. Photo courtesy/CardinalSeansBlog

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KNOCK -- As the historic first Aer Lingus plane from Boston to Knock, Ireland touched down on a runway at Ireland West Airport Knock, July 15, a crowd of people stood by to the welcome the passengers of the flight -- among them Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley and a number of pilgrims with the Archdiocese of Boston.

"When we arrived in Knock, we were met by the very impressive delegation of the Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Michael Neary; Sir Joseph Kennedy, the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the airport who is a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory and was in full uniform with plumes and sword; Father Richard Gibbons, the rector of the Knock Shrine; and Al McDonnell, the Cathaoirleach of the Mayo County Council," said Cardinal O'Malley in his weekly blog.

The pilgrims' arrival marked the beginning of a seven day stay in Western Ireland, where they toured many of Western Ireland's historical spiritual sites, including the Abbey Well Ballyshannon, the "Holy Mountain" Croagh Patrick, and Ballintubber Abbey, as well as several of the country's secular attractions before departing for Boston on July 21.

The highlight of the trip, however, was a special Mass of rededication of the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, or Knock Shrine, at which Cardinal O'Malley acted as the celebrant, July 16. The Mass marked the 40th anniversary of the original dedication of Knock Basilica on July 18, 1976.

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