On 4 May next, the first ever National Pilgrimage for Life, organised by the Bishops’ Council for Life, will be celebrated at Ireland’s International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo, which is located in the Archdiocese of Tuam.

This novel pilgrimage will begin in the Knock Basilica at 2.30pm with Anointing of the Sick, followed by Mass at 3.00pm and Rosary Procession after Mass, subject to weather conditions.  Main celebrant and homilist will be Archbishop Francis Duffy of Tuam.  Everyone is invited to join this pilgrimage to celebrate the gift of life and to pray for the protection of all human life.

Speaking ahead the pilgrimage, Bishop Kevin Doran, who is chairman of the Council for Life, said, “I very much look forward to this first National Pilgrimage for Life, which gives us all the opportunity, as advocates for life, to draw strength and inspiration from Mary, who is mother of Jesus and mother of the Church.  Central to our pilgrimage will be the Eucharist which nourishes us through life as well as being a particular source of strength to the sick and the dying.”

The Council for Life was established by the Bishops’ Conference in 2019 with the purpose of advising the Irish Bishops’ Conference, and its Commissions, Agencies and Councils, on matters relating to a consistent ethic of life and care for the unborn and those most at risk at any stage of life.  The Council also supports the work of individual bishops and dioceses on pro-life matters.  In addition, the Council keeps abreast of developing ethical issues concerning the beginning and end of life, as well as other developments in treatment and research, and advances in medical technology and in the pharmaceutical industry, which present ongoing challenges to Catholics in the promotion of the right to life of the unborn.

The Council acts as a ‘think-tank’ to research questions related to the dignity and protection of human life.  This involves the consideration of public policy and legislative proposals with a view to anticipating future challenges both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.  The work of the Council also involves examining queries and misinformation in relation to the right to life and the protection of life.

For updates please see online councilforlife.ie, on Facebook, and on X/Twitter.