Father Stephen Farragher shares the history of the Mayo agency that has been responsible for 925 marriages since its foundation in 1968

In 1991 I was asked by the then Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Joseph Cassidy, to take up an appointment as Pastoral and Youth Director at Knock Shrine.

I commenced my appointment in early August of that year just prior to the start of the Annual Novena to Our Lady of Knock.

One day as I made my way from the presbytery to the basilica I was approached by a man who had an eager look of anticipation on his face as he asked me “Fr, can you tell me where I can find the Marriage Brewery?”

Having a fair idea that he was looking for the Knock Marriage Bureau, I asked in reply: “Is it a woman or a drink you’re looking for?” I don’t know if it was a result of such confusion that the name was later changed to Knock Marriage Introductions, but little did I think on that occasion that one day I would be the director of Ireland’s first and, to the best of my knowledge still the, only Catholic dating agency in Ireland.

A recent programme in the RTE TV series Reeling in the Years featured some news clips in black and white from the 1960’s. In one of them Fr Michael Keane, the founder of the Knock Marriage Bureau explained the reasons behind his decision to found the agency.

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