Passengers arriving at Ireland West Airport in Knock County Mayo.
By Irish Echo Staff
Ireland West Airport welcomed pilgrims from New York last August who arrived on board an inaugural Aer Lingus flight.
This coming July, a new batch of first time passengers will arrive from Boston.
The airport will host the flight from Boston in what will be its 30th anniversary year.
The flight will take place as a result of the Archdiocese of Boston organizing its first Diocesan pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Knock, the Irish Independent reported.
It will be the first transatlantic service operated by Aer Lingus from Boston to Knock.
Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, welcomed the announcement.
“The Archdiocese of Boston is blessed and strengthened by the faith of the Irish Catholic community here and also that of our many friends and relations in Ireland.”
“We look forward to parishioners from the archdiocese and people from many walks of life coming together as we journey in pilgrimage to the Shrine at Knock, this coming July for the rededication of Our Lady's Basilica.”
Cardinal O’Malley said he was delighted that Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh, would also be among the group arriving in Knock for the pilgrimage this year.
“Both Cardinal O'Malley and Mayor Walsh have very strong western connections and once again their visit with so many pilgrims shows the possibilities of pilgrimage growth and the strategic importance of Ireland West Airport to the future of Ireland's National Marian Shrine,” said Fr. Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest and rector of Knock Shrine.
Joe Kennedy, chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock, said the flight was another “stepping stone” in securing regular transatlantic services for the airport.
The announcement was even more historic given the airport would, in May, celebrate the 30th anniversary of its official opening.
“We look forward to welcoming our Boston visitors to the West of Ireland next July,” Mr. Kennedy said.
New York attorney Brian O’Dwyer, who is International Chair of Ireland West Airport Knock, said: “This is a further important step in opening the West of Ireland to tourism and to travel from the Irish in the diaspora. I congratulate both Aer Lingus and the staff of the airport for making this possible.”