“I’m happy to be here with you. I am happy to be with you in Mary’s home.”
On the second day of his Aug. 25-26, 2018, visit to Ireland for the occasion of the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis stressed this during his Angelus address which he gave in the northwestern town of Knock. Knock is a beloved pilgrimage site for the Irish.
In 1979, Pope St John Paul II visited the site, located in the Irish County of Mayo, for the centenary of the Marian and Eucharistic apparition that took place there. The apparition was witnessed by 15 people independently and verified by the Church.
This morning, the Pope passed through the people gathered, and joyful despite the rain, in his popemobile (something that Pope John Paul II couldn’t do when he visited. Fr. Richard Gibbons, the shrine’s rector, told ZENIT when they visited Knock that people were really disappointed because he ran out of time, since he was delayed traveling back from Galway and had to return to Dublin.
Then, Francis went to Chapel of the Apparitions, where he was welcomed by the Rector of the Sanctuary, Father Richard Gibbons., and where some 200 faithful were gathered. After silently praying before the Madonna in the chapel, the Pope left a golden rosary for the Virgin.
Afterward, the Pope gave his Angelus address, noting first of all his gratitude and joy to be in the home of Mary, he expressed his gratitude for being able, in the context of the World Meeting of Families, to visit this Shrine, “so dear to the Irish people.”
In the Apparition Chapel, he noted, “I lifted up to Our Lady’s loving intercession all the families of the world, and, in a special way, your families, the families of Ireland.”
“Mary our Mother knows the joys and struggles felt in each home. Holding them in her Immaculate Heart, she brings them with love to the throne of her Son.”
The Pope pointed out that he left to remember his visit a golden rosary, because: “I know how important the tradition of the family rosary has been in this country.”
“Who can tell how many hearts, of fathers, mothers and children alike, have drawn comfort and strength over the years from meditating on Our Lady’s participation in the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of Christ’s life!”
May Our Lady, he also prayed, also look with mercy on all the suffering members of her Son’s family.
“In my prayer before her statue, I presented to her in particular all the victims of abuse of whatever kind committed by members of the Church in Ireland.
“None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence and left scarred by painful memories. This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.”
“I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family. I ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for the healing of the survivors and the betrayal experienced by so many in the family of God.”
The Holy Father asked the Blessed Virgin Mother to intercede for every person “who has survived abuse of any kind and to confirm every member of the Christian family in their firm resolve to never permit these situations to happen again.” He also called on her to “intercede for us all, so that we may always go forward with justice to repair such great violence, as much as we can.”
His pilgrimage to Knock, he also said, allows him to address a warm greeting to the beloved people of Northern Ireland.
“Although my Journey for the World Meeting of Families does not include a visit to the North, I assure you of my affection and my closeness in prayer.”
Pope Francis prayed that Our Lady sustain all the members of the Irish family to persevere, as brothers and sisters, in the work of reconciliation.
“With gratitude, for advancing ecumenism, and the significant growth of friendship and cooperation between the Christian communities, Muslims, Jews and those of other faiths: sons and daughters of Ireland, I pray that all Christ’s followers will support the continuing efforts to advance the peace process and to build a harmonious and just society for today’s children.”
Pope Francis prayed that for these intentions and all those intentions hidden in our hearts, we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary in praying the Angelus.
After the Angelus address, Pope Francis also gave a special greeting to the men and women who are in prison in the country, and thanked in particular “those of them who wrote to me knowing that I would come to Ireland.”
“I would like to tell you: I am near you, very close. I assure you and your family of my closeness and my prayer. May Mary, Mother of Mercy, watch over you and strengthen you in faith and hope. Thank you!”
Full Text of Angelus: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-angelus-in-knock-ireland/