HOPE, OUR LADY OF KNOCK, PREMIERES AT VATICAN
I was with these amazing ladies last night during and after the Vatican premiere of the film, “Hope, Our Lady of Knock,” a riveting docudrama produced by EWTN in Ireland. I met Marilyn Henry (to my right) and Catherine Wiley (second from left) last year in Rome: Catherine founded the Catholic Grandparents Association and Marilyn founded the American branch of this association.
Catherine and Marilyn are in Rome for the three-day conference that starts tomorrow in the Paul VI Hall entitled “The Richness of Many Years of Life,” about the pastoral care for the elderly. The conference was organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Jane is involved with the American association and we met only last night but she told me she’s a great follower and fan of Joan’s Rome TV spots on EWTN! She had just arrived Rome after participating in the March for Life in Washington.
The film starts by looking at the dramatic years of the potato famine in Ireland when 1 million Irish died of hunger and 1 million emigrated, but it is above all a story of hope as it principally tells the story of the beloved Shrine of Knock. “Hope” weaves a beautiful tapestry that joins the two moments of Irish history – the 1840s famine and the appearance of the Virgin Mary at Knock August on 21, 1879. Hope was always the main ingredient in the hearts of the Irish and was greatly aided by Our Lady’s 1879 appearance.
“Hope” was shown in the small theatre, the Vatican Filmoteca, a former chapel, in Vatican City that is part of the communications dicastery. It brought together the writer and producer Campbell Miller, his parents, Fr. Richard Gibbons, Knock shrine rector, a number of the shrine staff and parishioners, several of the actors and Bishop Michael Neary of Tuam. There was quite the Irish contingent at the filming in addition to the principals I just mentioned and members of the Rome EWTN bureau.
Woven throughout the film are riveting interviews with Fr. Gibbons, several bishops, the staff of the shrine and the story of just one of the many ‘miracolata’, a woman cured at the shrine – as they recount this impelling story.
The Irish who had come to Rome for the premiere also attended Pope Francis’ Mass Sunday as the Church celebrated the first ever Sunday of the Word of God. The Holy Father blessed the new pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Knock, present at the papal altar during Mass. Another special moment for the Irish pilgrims was when the Schola Cantorum Basilicae choir from Knock Shrine performed the much-loved ‘Our Lady of Knock’ hymn.
EWTN and the Irish visitors, especially from our Ireland office, arranged a reception after the premiere and, as they say, a good time was had by all. Fascinating conversations among the protagonists and new insights into people, the Knock shrine and so many issues. We were joined by Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of Los Angeles (he is in Rome for the ad limina visit by the bishops of California, Nevada and Hawaii). (photos by Daniel Ibanez of EWTN/CNA: Knock Shrine group photo by JFL)
When I have more information on when, where and at what time this film will be shown I will let you all know. In the meantime, check this out: https://www.ewtnireland.com/