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Annual Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine, 2019

Sacred Heart Conference SVP, Castlebar

Every year, the Sacred Heart Conference SVP in Castlebar bring residents, patients and service uses from the Sacred Heart Hospital to Knock Shrine. Numbers vary from year to year but generally the average is between 50 and 60.  All must receive medical clearance before they embark on the journey.

The members of the Conference are assisted each year by nurses, nursing aids and staff from the Sacred Heart Hospital and the Day Care Unit. Further assistance is provided by the Irish Wheelchair Association staff and volunteers from St Johns Ambulance organization. The pilgrimage would not be possible without such wonderful support.

The format of the pilgrimage follows a certain pattern or routine developed by our President Anne Leonard and executed by her SVP team and additional volunteers.

  • 12.45pm - All SVP members and volunteers assemble at the hospital along with all the transport facilities; coach, wheelchair buses, cars etc.
  • 1.45pm - All residents, patients and service users are boarded on relevant transport as per requirements.
  • 1.50pm - Depart for Knock Shrine
  • 2.30pm - Arrive at St Johns Rest and Care Centre at Knock Shrine.  Allow for all to disembark and avail of facilities at the Centre (including refreshments if required)
  • 2.50 pm - Assemble in Basilica for Mass at 3pm including blessing of the sick etc.
  • 4.15 pm - After mass, re-assemble in the Rest and Care Centre for meal – various sandwiches prepared by SVP members, scones, cakes, tarts, buns, biscuits, teas, coffees and afterwards (if desired) mild alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, followed by music, singing and dancing and some shopping if time permits.
  • 6pm - Return to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar and assist with the arrangements for all residents, patients and Day Care Unit users to be safely escorted home.

The members of the Sacred Heart Conference feel privileged to be allowed carry out this annual activity.  In particular they wish to express sincere thanks to the Director of Nursing and her staff and all the volunteers for their unstinted cooperation and service over so many years.

Also, the members are thankful to their predecessors in the conference for initiating and organizing the pilgrimage day in the past and proving above all that ‘our work never springs from ourselves alone’.

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