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Pilgrimage Organiser Invited to Address Vatican Council

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Pilgrimage organiser invited to address Vatican Council A Co. Mayo grandmother who managed to attract 5,000 people to the first National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage in Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo, last year has been invited to explain to a high-powered Vatican Council just how – and why – she established the annual event.

Catherine Wiley Founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association

Catherine Wiley Founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association

Catherine Wiley’s idea of hosting a pilgrimage for Irish grandparents came to spectacular fruition last September, when the Basilica at Knock Shrine was filled to overflowing. Now, in recognition of her achievement, the Castlebar native has been invited to take part in a Plenary Session of the Pontifical Council for the Family from April 3rd to 5th in Vatican City . The theme of the meeting will be

“Grandparents: Presence and Testimony in the Family.”

A grandmother of ten, Catherine said:
“I am very honoured and humbled by this invitation. It is a great thing that the Pontifical Council for the Family are to discuss the role of grandparents. I got the idea for the pilgrimage when I started to realise just how important a part grandmothers and grandfathers play in so many families. They are baby-sitters when parents are so busy with their working lives, and they also have a unique relationship with their grandchildren. Many Grandparents today are struggling with the effects of divorced, separated, second union, or single parent families on their children and their children’s children. I have ten Grandchildren and I know the special relationship that exists between grandparents and grandchildren. Grandparents are there from the birth of the child, they are ever-present and they enjoy the trust of their grandchildren from a very young age. Many grandparents may feel they are taken for granted, and my pilgrimage sought to put that right, and also to honour grandparents for the part they play in helping to pass the Catholic faith from generation to generation.”

This year’s National Grandparents Pilgrimage will take place in Knock Shrine on Sunday, September 14th, when the keynote speaker will be well-known religious affairs writer David Quinn.


Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm