A new National Catholic Grandparents Association was launched today in Knock, Co Mayo.

Thousands of pilgrims were expected to visit the holy shrine for the third annual grandparents' pilgrimage.

The success of the venture has prompted organiser Catherine Wiley to launch the National Catholic Grandparents Association.

The Mayo grandmother said it would give a voice to people of her generation.

She said grandparents were frequently the glue that holds families together during separation or divorce. But she said a great many lose out on a relationship with their grandchildren after marital breakdown.

The new association is being launched at a time when the Law Reform Commission is looking at ways of improving the rights of grandparents in relation to guardianship and access to their grandchildren.

An appeal has been sent out to children to write a prayer in tribute to their grandparents and the organisers aim to reach a target of 10,000 prayers.

They will be brought to the altar at the Knock Shrine during Mass which begins at 3pm. Cardinal Sean Brady will be the Chief Celebrant.