For the first time in 43 years Knock didn’t host a Novena in 2020 but there are hopes the celebration will go ahead this year now that the Shrine has reopened.
Parish priest Fr Richard Gibbon is “excited” to see parishioners and pilgrims back in the churches and while it’s too soon to say what form the August Novena will take he’s confident it will go ahead.
“We hope restrictions will have lessened by the time August comes around and we might be able to have outdoor processions. It will depend on progress during the summer but we will have a Novena.”
The Shrine officially opened last Tuesday week, May 11, for Mass and Confessions but the Basilica will remain closed, except for the weekends, for the month of May to allow upgrade works to take place.
“It’s six years now since the Basilica was rededicated and the technology goes out of date quite quickly. It’s essential work for the quality of cameras and sound,” explained Fr Gibbons.
Attendances at Masses in the Parish Church will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people and to 200 in the Basilica on a first-come, first-served basis. A queuing system will be in place and ushers will be on hand to assist pilgrims.
Masses will be celebrated on Monday to Saturday at 12 noon, 3pm and 7.30pm with Rosary at 7pm each day. Mass takes place at 12 noon and 3pm on Sundays with the Rosary at 2.30pm.
Meanwhile, Knock House Hotel is expected to open in late June after been closed for more than a year. The cost of implementing social distancing measures and regular sanitising was blamed for last year’s closure of the hotel.