Wednesday 20 March 2019

Parishioners' key roles

The Pope in his popemobile at Knock. Pic:
The Pope in his popemobile at Knock. Pic:

Principal of Summerhill College, Paul Keogh took centre stage as one of two co-hosts in Knock Shrine on Sunday.

The father-of-two appeared alongside Una Nolan to introduce the event to the 45,000 audience and commentated on the live TV feed of Pope Francis departing Dublin airport and his arrival at Knock airport.

Paul and his co-host led the congregation in the rehearsal of 'Lady of Knock', Dana's song. They also led the congregation in preparing for Sunday mass after Pope Francis had departed at 10.45am.

Paul was the co-founder of Elation Ministries and is lead vocalist with the Christian music group.

For over a decade he has worked closely with the Knock Youth Ministry Team and is a frequent music and event leader at Knock Shrine.

Paul was not the only locally based person to play a key role in the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Ireland.

Elphin Diocesan Secretary and St Angela's College lecturer, the Very Reverend Fr Michael Duignan was singled out for special thanks by the Rector of Knock Shrine Fr Richard Gibbons for his sterling work organising the Knock event.

"I want to thank Fr Michael Duignan for making it happen. He was kidnapped from Sligo to Knock!" said Fr Gibbons.

Fr Gibbons delivered his words of thanks once Pope Francis had left Knock Shrine to return to Dublin.

The Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran met Pope Francis twice - first off the plane at Ireland West International Airport at Knock and later at the meeting of Bishops at the Papal Nuncio's home before he departed for Rome.

Bishop Doran also joined Pope Francis for mass in the Phoenix Park. "We felt that we should be there to greet him in Knock so we drove back on the Saturday night," Bishop Doran told The Sligo Champion.

Like many others, the Bishop of Elphin was struck by the quietness of the crowd during the Pope's few moments of prayer in the Apparition Chapel.

"I had a very strong sense he was entrusting the fruitfulness of his visit and the protection of children and healing of abuse survivors to Our Lady," he said.

"It was a very spiritual moment for him. The crowd was as far as the eye could see. They had been through the worst of the weather and then he just got up and said 'Good morning'," he said.

Elphin Catechist Colette Furlong was continuity announcer at the Phoenix Park event on Sunday while overall Choir Director was Derek Mahady from Roosky.

Sligo Champion