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Grandads gather with grannies at Knock shrine

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Grandparents Pilgrimage at Knock Shrine

Grandparents Pilgrimage at Knock Shrine

ALISON HEALY

GRANDPARENTS HAVE finally found their voice, the founder of the new Catholic Grandparents Association said yesterday as an estimated 14,000 grandmothers and grandfathers gathered at Knock shrine, Co Mayo.

They were attending the third annual National Grandparents Pilgrimage and the launch of the new organisation by Co Mayo grandmother Catherine Wiley.

She said the response from pilgrims had “stunned” her and people from all over the country told her that they wanted to be involved in the new association.

“People are coming up to me saying ‘I want to start a branch’. I think there will be branches in every town in the country . . .

“The association will be a voice for grandparents and will also offer them practical assistance. In many cases, grandparents are the ones holding families together.”

Among the pilgrims at yesterday’s event was Michael Lambert (102) from Co Roscommon and Tom Ketterick (95), the Mayo man who recently reached the final of the World Cup Brown Trout Angling competition.

Seán and Margaret Davin travelled from Dublin for the event. Mr Davin said it was “an extraordinary day” for grandparents. The key role played by grandparents had often been overlooked, he said, but now a “fascinating new consciousness of that role has been raised”.

The Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, said the “Bank of grandma and grandad” was critical to the success of the Celtic Tiger and the resources of grandparents would be critical to our economic recovery.

In years gone by, it was commonplace for children to take on financial responsibility for their parents as they grew older but that situation had reversed, Cardinal Brady said. “It is your time and money which is now holding many families in this country together as they struggle with the consequences of the global economic crisis,” he told grandparents.

He also alluded to the controversy over civil partnerships and gay marriage. “Any society which diminishes the value of the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, diminishes the very foundation of society itself.”

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0914/1224254474558.html

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Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

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

Former Eurovision winner and MEP Dana – Keynote Speaker!

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Former Eurovision Winner & MEP Dana

Former Eurovision Winner & MEP Dana

Former Eurovision winner and MEP Dana will deliver the keynote address at the 2nd Annual Grandparents Pilgrimage in Knock which will be led by Dr Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.

The purpose of the Pilgrimage is to celebrate the pivotal role of Grandparents in the transmission of the faith here in Ireland, and it will also honour St Joachim and St Anne, the Grandparents of Jesus. Children all over Ireland are invited to write a short Family Prayer in recognition of what their Grandparents have done for them, be they living or dead. The goal is to gather the largest collection of prayers ever assembled in Ireland. “Grandparents have helped to keep our families in faith and in love. Pilgrims will travel from all over Ireland to take part in this Pilgrimage,” said Catherine Wiley, the organiser of the Pilgrimage.

Catholic Grandparents Association Patron Archbishop Michael Neary

Catholic Grandparents Association Patron Archbishop Michael Neary

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Grandparents Celebrate Historic Pilgrimage

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Grandparents of Jesus

Grandparents of Jesus

Over 5,000 turned up to honour grandmothers and grandfathers at the first-ever National Grandparents Pilgrimage in Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo, at the weekend – and the gathering included a 103 year-old great-grandmother who attributes her long life to “no stress, and a regular drop of brandy.”

Bridget O’Malley from Westport, Co. Mayo, was a special guest at the celebrations that attracted grandparents, their children and grandchildren from all over Ireland.

Mrs O’Malley has one daughter (Catherine O’Reilly) and one adopted daughter (Bernadette Grimes), who, between them, have provided Mrs O’Malley with 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

“She was delighted to be invited to attend the Pilgrimage because of her great age, and she really enjoyed the day. She reads the newspaper every day, bakes brown bread every week, and she puts her good health down to no stress, and a regular drop of brandy,” said her grandson, RTE broadcaster Piaras O’Raghallaigh.

“She has always enjoyed life to the full.”

Former MEP and Eurovision winner Dana was the guest speaker at the event, which is set to become an annual event. “It was a very moving day for grandparents and their grandchildren. It was just one of saying thank you to our grandparents, and also to help them as they continue to transmit the faith from generation to generation,” said Pilgrimage organiser Catherine Wiley.

“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. In many cases, they hold the family together.”

Download & Read the write-up on our Pilgrimage’s Success in The IRISH CATHOLIC NEWS

Author: Liam Horan

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm