Fr Frank Fahey is a priest in Ballintubber Abbey, Co. Mayo. I have heard him speak a number of times and he always impresses me. He talks about the distinction between “tourist” and “pilgrim” and says that a tourist comes to a place to see what is to be seen, take photographs and go home. A “pilgrim” on the other hand comes to a place to be changed. My friends, Chris and Erin, are primarily tourists and they are well entitled to that. Today however, they became pilgrims for a while when we went to Knock Shrine – about fifteen minutes drive from my home. There are pictures – but I took them – so maybe I was the tourist. I think both Chris and Erin were quite taken by the Knock experience and it meant something to them. Glad we went.
Now for the photos!!
We walked around for a while in the Shrine grounds, visited the museum and the Confessional Chapel – a fine facility offered by Knock where the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available and availed of throughout the day. Today was no exception.
In the museum I noticed a reference to the Shrine as “An Acre of Peace” and it struck me as a good phrase. We need many such acres in our lives. I was especially glad to meet Clare Lavin in the Museum – she’s a daughter of my good friends Ann and Jimmy Lavin and I know her since her earliest days. Was lovely to see her at work today, so graceful, good-humoured and attentive. A bonus! Thanks Grace.
There is a reconstuction of a traditional cottage on display in the museum and a few pictures from it are included below.
Towards the end of our time we walked to the old Parish Church and spent some time there. There’s a fine piece of work on the wall of the old church – a rosary beads made of stone and including the names of Marian Shrines throughout the world. On one bead is a beautiful depiction of the Holy Family
If you want to see a bit more about Knock Shrine, you could do worse than spend some time visiting its website www.knock-shrine.ie or, better again, come and visit sometime!