The Handmaids and Stewards come from all parts of Ireland, from all age groups and from numerous occupations. Many of them are professional people and they bring their particular expertise to bear on their work at Knock. The services they provide are many and varied. The following are examples of some of the services they provide:
- Care of the Sick, elderly and those with disabilities.
- Provision of First Aid which includes the use of Defibrillators.
- Maintenance of order and crowd control in the Shrine Grounds, Basilica and Chapels.
- The organisation and supervision of the Eucharistic and Rosary Processions.
- Participation in the Liturgical Ceremonies such as the Sacrament of the Sick and as Eucharistic Ministers.
- The preparation of meals for the voluntary helpers and the Sick and operating a Souvenir Shop for their convenience.
- Enrolling pilgrims in the Mass Association, Rosary Crusade and International Blessed Sacrament Guild.
- The provision of literature about the history of Knock Shrine and its various aspects such as the “Knock Shrine Annual” which has been published, in unbroken sequence, since 1938, a period of seventy years. Its Editor from 1938 to 1996 was the late Dame Judy Coyne, a period of 58 years and its Editor since 1997 to the present is Tom Neary.
The Society’s Governing Body is the Knock Shrine Council which deals with major items of Policy and decisions and there are also Committees of Handmaids and Stewards dealing with day to day issues. Regular Meetings are held throughout the year. The Society normally has a President, Chief Steward and his Assistant, two Registrars, Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. Every Sunday’s work begins with Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Prayer and a Briefing Session in St. John’s Centre.
Knock Shrine Society recruits new members every year according as members retire, die or are no longer in a position to carry out their duties. Anyone resident in Ireland who may be interested in becoming a Handmaid or Steward of Knock should, in the first instance, in the case of Handmaids, contact the Honorary Secretary of the Society. In the case of Stewards, contact the Chief Steward. Their names, addresses and telephone numbers are given below. Contact may also be made by getting in touch with a registered Handmaid or Steward in the area in which the applicant lives.
Ms. Mary Neary, St. Brigid’s, Knock, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
Telephone: 094 – 9388110.
Mr. Tom Neary, Logatemple, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
Telephone: 094 – 9371619 and Mobile: 087 – 2102059.