The news that Pope Francis has declared 2021 ‘The Year of St. Joseph’ in his new Apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart) has been warmly welcomed at Knock Shrine.
The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.
In his apostolic letter, His Holiness stated:
“Now, one hundred and fifty years after his proclamation as Patron of the Catholic Church by Blessed Pius IX (8 December 1870), I would like to share some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience. For, as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34). My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how “our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history.” – Patris Corde
Fr. Richard Gibbons, PP, Rector at Knock Shrine has expressed his delight at the proclamation of the ‘Year of St. Joseph’.
“The announcement is hugely significant for the National Marian Shrine in the context of the Apparition at Knock. At a time when Ireland was experiencing a period of great distress, political unrest and, indeed, famine, the Apparition at Knock brought a sense of hope and comfort to the people of Ireland. There at Our Lady’s side, was her spouse, his head bent in prayer and support. St. Joseph, in his own quiet way, points each of us in the direction of Our Blessed Mother. He invites us to place all our prayers and intercessions in Her care, as She intercedes for us with Her Son. In these unprecedented and challenging times, that message is as relevant to us today as it was in 1879.
As we face 2021 with hope, we look forward to welcoming pilgrims back to Knock Shrine for a wonderful year of celebrations as we come together to honour St. Joseph, Patron of the Catholic Church, the quiet, supportive presence who appeared here at Knock.”
On the evening of the Apparition of 1879, ordinary people witnessed an extraordinary vision at the gable wall of the parish church in Knock. There, in the company of Our Lady, St. John the Evangelist and the Lamb on the altar, the witnesses described St. Joseph to the Blessed Virgin’s right hand; his head was bent forward; he appeared to be paying his respects and looked like a person in prayer.
Knock Shrine is now planning a full calendar of events for this very special year. Full details will be available on the Knock Shrine website www.knockshrine.ie.