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Marty Morrissey gets standing ovation at Knock Basilica

Story by Tom Shiel

Wednesday, 16th August, 2017 6:56pm

Marty Morrissey gets standing ovation at Knock Basilica

Marty Morrissey speaking at Knock Basilica today. Photo: Knock Shrine Facebook page

SPORTSCASTER Marty Morrissey was greeted with a standing ovation today (Wednesday) when he outlined his precepts for living a happy, fulfilled, life in a packed Knock Basilica.

Addressing several thousand pilgrims at the annual Novena, Mr. Morrissey spoke for almost half an hour on the theme, 'Living Life to the Full'.

His 'homily' was punctuated by many outbreaks of applause. At its conclusion, the large congregation, led by the well known commentator - belted out three resonant 'Hip Hip Hoorays' for Knock Novena.'

In another unorthodox moment, the RTÉ man had members of the congregation telling persons on their left and right 'I love you'.

Mr. Morrissey began by saying: "Welcome to Wednesday's Solemn Novena at Knock. My name is Marty.

This is not a sermon. I am no preacher. I am one of ye, an ordinary Joe Soap trying to do his

best here on earth, trying to live life honestly and use whatever gifts God has given me.

"You could say I am living life to the full.

"I am no Holy Joe. In fact, I am no Holy Marty."

Mr. Morrissey revealed what he said he had kept quiet up to now - that fact that he regularly visits the old parish church in Knock for prayer and reflection after carrying out broadcasting assignments in the region.

To laughter, he stressed that he was not all at the person with a fake tan and big false teeth as depicted by Mario Rosentock in his TV show.

But one thing the mimics did get right, Mr. Morrissey said, was the fact that he liked to celebrate, that 'I'm Marty and I love to party'.

He continued: "This is unquestionably the biggest party I have ever spoken at, a celebration of a joy filled faith, celebrating love of God, our hopes and our dreams."

Mr. Morrissey outlined his mantra for living life to the full.

"Give it welly, my friends", he exhorted the congregation."Enjoy every day. Put a smile on your face. If you are having a row with somebody make contact and tell them 'we need to sort this out'.

The success of today's speaking engagement - Marty Morrissey spoke at both the 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ceremonies - led one impressed Knock native, Joe Rattigan, to suggest that after the All-Ireland GAA finals every September there should be a special pilgrimage day for GAA fans from all over the world.

"It was a great idea for Fr. Richard (Gibbons) to ask Marty to speak at the Novena", Mr. Rattigan enthused.

" We need more lay speakers like him if the popularity of the annual 9 day Novena is to be continued.

The Novena concludes on Tuesday next (August 22).

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