Making a difference at Knock
In summer 1989 Des Fahey, a priest from Knock, came to Manresa to seek help. ‘Something’ he said ‘is missing at Knock, and unless we identify it, the Shrine will lose its popularity.’ Von Hugel held that a religion needs three dimensions to thrive: institutional, intellectual and mystical. Des and Brian Grogan (then director of the Manresa Centre) agreed that the mystical dimension needed development at Knock. As it happened, Manresa had developed a training course for Prayer Guides, and needed outlets for its graduates. So Des and Brian decided to set up a Prayer Guidance Ministry in Knock: guides would provide pilgrims with 30-minute sessions in imaginative contemplation. ‘If we can introduce people to the Jesus of the Gospels, they can do the rest themselves.’ What followed? In the last 20 years, over 250,000 people have been helped by the sessions offered. Recently the authorities at Lourdes initiated a similar ministry, based on the Knock model.