Advent, the first season of the Church year which includes the four Sundays before Christmas, is a wonderful season of joyful anticipation, spiritual renewal and hope.
This year, Advent begins on November 29 and here at Knock Shrine there are a number of events, workshops and ceremonies over the course of the season to celebrate Advent and engage in prayer, reflection and a deepening of faith.
From Thursday, November 26, a weekly guided prayer session, focused on the Advent scriptures, will take place at 4pm in the Prayer Guidance Centre at Knock Shrine. All are welcome to go along to the sessions each Thursday, which are led by Knock’s experienced team of prayer guides. There is no fee and no booking is required.
For Gospel prayer, reflection and sharing, a new weekly session on St John’s Gospel is starting in Room 1 at St John’s Rest & Care Centre each Friday at 11am. The first session is on December 4.
On December 5, the Prayer Guidance Centre is also the venue for a one-day retreat for adults. The retreat, called ‘Quiet Days for Busy People’, is an ideal opportunity for individuals or small parish groups to take some quiet time out of a busy schedule to reflect upon and deepen their prayer life this Advent. The day retreat costs €30, which includes lunch, and booking is advised on (094) 93 75321; (087) 6927850; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gospel hour is organised by Sr Anastasia fmsl. For more information, telephone (094) 9388302.
On December 7, the 43rd Annual All Night Vigil takes place at Knock Shrine. The vigil through the night celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and also coincides with the opening of Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy.
It starts at 10pm and the programme includes Confessions, Rosary, a beautiful candlelight procession, Holy Hour and Stations of the Cross.
The vigil concludes with Mass at 4am in the Basilica at which Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary will be the chief celebrant. Music will be provided by soloists James Kilbane and Deirdre Parle with musical director and organist Úna Nolan.
For an uplifting and joyous musical celebration of the Christmas season, everyone is invited to join the choirs of Knock for a special carol service on December 18 in Knock Parish Church at 8pm.
Throughout Advent, daily Masses continue, Monday to Saturday, at 9am, 11am, 12 noon, 3pm and 7.30pm in the Parish Church.
Mass times on Sunday are 9am and 10.30am in the Parish Church and 12 noon and 3pm in the Basilica.
Confessions are available daily from 11am to 4pm in the Chapel of Reconciliation, where Adoration is also underway each day.
Visitors to Knock during Advent can also explore the remarkable history of Knock at Knock Museum, which is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
For more information on Advent activities at Knock Shrine, telephone (094) 93 88100.