Pioneer Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine

The Pioneer and Total Abstinence Association (PTAA) and the Matt Talbot Group will hold their joint national annual pilgrimage to Knock, Co. Mayo on Sunday 19 July next.

The Pioneers and the Matt Talbot Group are calling on all members to support this year’s event by attending it in strong numbers. 

The Knock pilgrimage is the highlight in the Pioneer’s annual calendar of spiritual events and activities. The traditionally large Pioneer  Association and Matt Talbot Group turn-out is expected at this year’s gathering.

Bishop Eamonn Walsh, vice-chair of The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative, will deliver the pilgrimage’s 2009 homily.

Commenting on the pilgrimage, Noreen Brady, chairperson of the PTAA National Spirituality Committee and pilgrimage organiser said:   

“ The Association is delighted that Bishop Walsh has kindly accepted our invitation to deliver the homily at this year’s pilgrimage. We look forward to hearing the Bishop’s homily on alcohol dependence and abuse at a time when the emotional difficulties that may be experienced as a result of the current recession may impact the drinking habits of people struggling with difficulties brought about by the economic downturn. 

“I would ask as many members as possible to attend this event which has always been a very important gathering for our Association and for the Matt Talbot Group. We would encourage members to bring their banners with them so that we can organise a visually impactful presence for our Association as we parade around the shrine.  I would also like to extend a warm welcome to anyone interested in the pilgrimage. All are most welcome to join us at Knock.”

The Pioneer Association’s new President, Robert Shannon, will lead the readings at the pilgrimage mass. Christopher Clarke of the Pioneer’s Youth Group will also read. 

The Pioneer mission is to address the problems in society caused by excess alcohol consumption and drug usage. The Association does this through faith and prayer, self denial, example, activities based on presenting alternatives to individuals, particularly the young and through its advocacy work.

The Pioneer vision - based on the love in the Heart of Christ, as expressed in The Gospels - is to help to build a society where people live to their full potential and alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation avoiding the ills that arise in society from excess in its use.

In 1975 the Holy See conferred the title "Venerable" on Matt Talbot, which grants him the qualifications of a Saint. If this Opinion is confirmed by the Miracles required by Canon Law, he will be canonized.

The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative was established in 1997 as a church response to the growing problem of drug / alcohol misuse in Ireland. Its vision is to enable parishes to use a pastoral response in partnership with other service providers to respond to the primary and secondary prevention of drug / alcohol harms in parish communities.


9 July 2009

Media Contact: Orlaith O’Callaghan, Communications and Advocacy Manager, The Pioneer and Total Abstinence Association on 087 6385942.