Knock Shrine, County Mayo
Written on July 7, 2016
Knock Shrine (Irish: Cnoc Mhuire, “Hill of Mary” or “Mary’s Hill”) is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage site and National Shrine in the village of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, where observers stated that there was an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, angels, and Jesus Christ (the Lamb of God) in 1879.
The village of Knock, from the Irish word: ‘An Cnoc’, is a village in County Mayo, Ireland. In the 20th century Knock became one of Europe’s major Catholic Marian shrines, alongside Lourdes and Fatima. One and a half million pilgrims visit Knock Shrine annually. Pope John Paul II, a supporter of devotion to the Virgin Mary, visited Knock in 1979 to commemorate the centenary of the apparition.
On the evening of Thursday, 21 August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people, whose ages ranged from five years to seventy-five and included men, women, teenagers and children, witnessed what they stated was an apparition of Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and Saint John the Evangelist at the south gable end of the local small parish church, the Church of Saint John the Baptist. Behind them and a little to the left of Saint John was a plain altar. On the altar was a cross and a lamb (a traditional image of Jesus, as reflected in the religious phrase The Lamb of God) with adoring angels. Two women, passing by the church, first noticed it and summoned what would become a small crowd of 15.
Those who witnessed the apparition stood in the pouring rain for up to two hours reciting the Rosary, a series of traditional Catholic prayers. When the apparition began there was good light, but although it then became very dark, witnesses could still see the figures very clearly – they appeared to be the colour of a bright whitish light. The apparition did not flicker or move in any way. The witnesses reported that the ground around the figures remained completely dry during the apparition although the wind was blowing from the south. Afterwards, however the ground at the gable became wet and the gable dark.