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Sunday, 21 August 2016

21‭ ‬August‭ ‬1879:‭ ‬The Apparition of Knock on this day.‭ ‬A number of witnesses of various ages reported that they had seen the Virgin Mary,‭ ‬St Joseph and St John the Evangelist appear on the wall of Knock Church.‭ ‬As a result Knock became a major centre of Pilgrimage.

On a wet Thursday evening,‭ ‬21st August‭ ‬1879,‭ ‬at about‭ ‬8‭ ‬o'clock,‭ ‬a heavenly vision appeared at the south gable of the Church of St.‭ ‬John the Baptist in Knock,‭ ‬Co.‭ ‬Mayo.‭ ‬Fifteen people‭ ‬-‭ ‬men,‭ ‬women and children‭ ‬-‭ ‬ranging in age from six years to seventy-five,‭ ‬watched the Apparition in pouring rain for two hours,‭ ‬reciting the rosary.‭ ‬Though they themselves were soaked,‭ ‬no rain fell in the direction of the church gable,‭ ‬where the ground remained perfectly dry.

Our Lady wore a large white cloak,‭ ‬fastened at the neck.‭ ‬Her hands and eyes were raised towards heaven,‭ ‬in a posture of prayer.‭ ‬On her head was a brilliant crown and where the crown fitted the brow,‭ ‬was a beautiful rose.‭ ‬On her right was St Joseph,‭ ‬head bowed and turned slightly towards her as if paying her his respects.‭ ‬He wore white robes.‭ ‬On our Lady's left was St John the Evangelist,‭ ‬dressed as a bishop,‭ ‬with a book in his left hand and right hand raised as if preaching.‭ ‬His robes were also white.‭ ‬Beside the figures and a little to the right in the centre of the gable was a large plain altar.‭ ‬On the altar stood a lamb,‭ ‬facing the West and behind the lamb a large cross stood upright.‭ ‬Angels hovered around the lamb for the duration of the Apparition.

Most Rev.‭ ‬Dr.‭ ‬John MacHale,‭ ‬Archbishop of Tuam,‭ ‬only six weeks after the Apparition,‭ ‬set up a Commission of Enquiry.‭ ‬Fifteen witnesses were examined and the Commission reported that the testimony of all taken as a whole,‭ ‬were trustworthy and satisfactory.

There was a‭ ‬2nd Commission of enquiry in‭ ‬1936‭ ‬when,‭ ‬Mary Byrne,‭ ‬one of the last surviving witnesses,‭ ‬was interviewed.‭ 

 The commissioners interviewed her in her bedroom,‭ ‬as she was too ill to leave.‭ ‬She gave her final testimony and concluded with the words: ‭

'I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God‭'‬ ‭

‬She died six weeks later.