Knock Shrine will be closed for the Feast of the Assumption for the first time ever this Saturday.
People have been asked to stay away from the holy site in Mayo in the interest of public health due to Covid-19.
The 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption, would normally see over 20,000 people visit the Shrine. But the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock, from 14th-22nd August has had to be postponed to prevent large gatherings.
Fr Richard Gibbons Rector of Knock Shrine said it was an “unprecedented and heart-breaking decision” to close the Shrine and grounds for this holy day.
The Shrine and grounds will be closed from 8pm on Friday 14th to 7am on Sunday 16th August. Masses will be celebrated online only and behind closed doors at 12, 3pm and 7.30pm.
“As the National Marian Shrine, we have been extra vigilant in living up to our responsibilities amid this pandemic in placing people’s physical and spiritual wellbeing to the fore,” Fr Richard Gibbons said in a statement.
“I would ask for your understanding and patience at this time. It is by trusting in God, looking out for one another and trusting our medical professionals that we will overcome this virus.”