The outdoor Stations of the Cross are located in the Shrine grounds adjacent to the Parish Church.
Since the earliest days, pilgrims have contemplated the Way of the Cross as part of their traditional pilgrimage to Knock. The impressive Calvary scene and the outdoor Stations of the Cross offer a quiet, contemplative space in which to pray and reflect. The outdoor Stations have been in place since 1938 and the Calvary scene pre-dates them by approximately 10 years.
The Stations of the Cross were gifted to the Shrine by the Knock Shrine Society and they were formally blessed by the Archbishop of Tuam, Joseph Walsh on Sunday, May 1st 1938, on the occasion of the Tuam Diocesan Pilgrimage that year.
Calvary Hill is set in mature grounds overlooking the Shrine and also offers a peaceful location in which to pray the Stations of the Cross.
The stunning Stations of the Cross in Knock Basilica are the work of Westport artist, Ger Sweeney. The Stations are painted on stretched raw linen, each Station is 2.6 x 2.6 metres (square in shape). Taking into account the large extent and scale of the Basilica, and the gracious floor to ceiling height within the Basilica, it was decided that the Stations should be installed approx. 4.5m above floor level; this ensures that all pilgrims have a good view of the Stations and this facilitates prayer and particularly saying of the Rosary.
The Stations of the Cross utilise a subdued colour range and this colour range is combined with very effective representations of natural light in each Station; this is appropriate for the solemnity of the subject matter, and this artistic restraint helps to give a powerful emotional feeling to the works.
The traditional Station at Knock Shrine has been undertaken by pilgrims since the earliest days, reflecting the ancient Irish tradition of ‘praying the rounds’ at holy places. This includes praying the Rosary, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in any of the Chapels and following the Stations of the Cross. These should be performed outside, near the Shrine or on the Knock Shrine Calvary weather permitting. In wet weather they may be performed in the Church of the Apparition or in the Basilica.
The traditional Stations of the Cross in the Parish Church have been in place since the 1920’s. In 2018, they were refurbished by specialist conservator, Eoghan Daltún and the intricate detail of each piece has been brought back to life.