The story of Knock began on Thursday evening of 21 August 1879, when the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of the Parish Church at Knock, County Mayo, Ireland. Beside them and a little to their left was an altar with a cross and the figure of a lamb, around which angels hovered.
There were fifteen official witnesses to the apparition – young and old – who watched and prayed for two hours in the pouring rain. The witnesses were ordinary people from the village of Knock and the surrounding hinterland.
Two Commissions of Enquiry, in 1879 and 1936, accepted their testimony as trustworthy and satisfactory. Today, Knock ranks among the world’s major Marian Shrines. Pilgrims come here seeking peace and prayer and to enjoy the beautiful landscaped gardens, meandering pathways and the wonderful sense of peace and calm.
Knock Shrine has a unique history and a number of beautiful churches as well as a rich offering of services and facilities, including an award-winning museum, a prayer centre, youth ministry, counselling centre, a contemporary café and excellent bookshop with a wide range of spiritual and religious books and resources. There are five chapels at Knock, where ceremonies take place daily. The iconic Knock Basilica houses the Apparition Mosaic, a magnificent piece of artwork representing the Apparition of 1879. The beautiful stations of the cross recently installed in the basilica are the work Westport-based artist Ger Sweeney, using oil on linen.
Marion Mulhall, founder of the Worldpriest global aspostolate and the Annual Global Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests, will travel from Ireland to be the guest speaker on 7 October, at the national novena at the shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Green Bay, in the northern US state of Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The day will begin with a Mass at 11am for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary at the shrine, which is the only approved apparition National Shrine to Our Lady within the United States.
At 12 noon there will be a family lunch at which Marion will speak, telling her personal story behind the founding of the Worldpriest apostolate, which is now recognised in eighty countries around the world through the Annual Rosary Relay of Priests. This prayer event, which touches the lives of millions around the world every year continues to grow, and will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2019.
Above image L to R: Niall M.Kennedy Chairman Worldpriest, His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon. Burma, Marion Mulhall Founder of Worldpriest, and His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Bombay India at the WMOF Dublin 2018.
Worldpriest participated fully at the World Meeting of Families, which took place on 21-26 August, at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). In a specially set up studio within the RDS the Worldpriest team –with full media accreditation – filmed a series of interviews with high profile participants at this joyful and uplifting event. These high quality videos will be placed on the Worldpriest website over coming weeks. People included in these productions are His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, Archbishop Michael Neary, who is episcopal adviser to Worldpriest and Fr Leo Patalinghug who uses his gift as a celebrity chef to carry out his ministry.
This hugely successful event in Dublin gave the Worldpriest team a perfect opportunity to meet priests from all over the world. Many were already familiar with our apostolate and there was great praise for the continued progress of the Worldpriest Global Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests, which they believed was needed more than ever uniting a world in prayer. ‘A world at prayer is a world at peace’ – Venerable Patrick Peyton.
All expressed their gratitude for the work of our apostolate and commented on the quality of our website. The Rosary Thursday initiative and the Daily Priest Prayer Friend feature both drew special praise from a number of priests. There was also great interest expressed in the content, quality and creativity of our promotional material. Many made suggestions for new web content and new prayer locations were also identified through these discussions.
This extremely well planned event provided many opportunities for Catholics, especially families, to strengthen their faith. The opening mass, celebrated by Cardinal Gracias of Bombay, was also concelebrated by cardinals, bishops and priests from all over the world.
Of course the most outstanding feature of this great event was the arrival of His Holiness Pope Francis in Ireland, the first visit by a pope to Irish soil in forty years. He paid a scheduled visit to Ireland’s National Marian Shrine at Knock in County Mayo as part of his visit.
Ireland is fortunate in that she still possesses a number of ancient wooden sculptures, including several of Our Lady and a few of the Irish saints. The oldest of these figures is the twelfth century Madonna and Child from Kilcorban, Co. Galway. The figure venerated in the Carmelite church today under the title of “Our Lady of Dublin” has been compared in style to some of the early sixteenth-century sculptures in the Henry VII chapel at Westminster, and is probably of this period. It is a life size figure in oak, showing Our Lady holding her Child. Originally brightly painted, the figure had been later whitewashed over, unfortunately, the removal of the whitewash in 1914 also took off the ancient polychrome surface as well. The extended arm of the Child is a modern restoration.
Moslem troops, led by Tarik Ibn Zayid, successfully captured this peninsula (known at the time as Calpe) in AD 710. In honour of his achievement, Calpe was renamed ‘Gibel Tarik’, from where we get the name ‘Gibraltar’: the Mountain of Tarik. In keeping with their practices, and in thanksgiving to Allah, the Moslem troops built a fortress and constructed a mosque with a minaret at the southernmost part of Gibraltar, located just across from the North African coast. Once consolidated here, they marched into mainland Europe, conquering most of the Iberian Peninsula.
On Friday 8 June this year previous records were broken as millions of people in all parts of the world came together at prayer locations to join in the Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay for the sanctification of priests. We believe we well exceeded the numbers participating last year, with in the region of 12.5 to 14 million people joining the 2018 prayer event, meaning that in the region of 700 million Hail Marys were said on the day.
To promote the ninth Annual Global Rosary Relay via communications networks and social media also on www.worldpriest.com, one of our Worldpriest directors Colm Flynn, a professional television producer, developed and presented a stunning gift of a promotional video featuring diverse prayerful images of Our Lady and showing many Global Rosary Relay prayer locations worldwide. The accompanying music brings one on a journey of speedy movement, uplifting the soul as one reflects on the spiritual journey of the Rosary Relay, while capturing the nature of this amazing and unique event. It has now been picked up all around the world and has gone viral!
Some people have asked us how exactly the Global Rosary Relay works in practice and how exactly they can best participate.
Over a twenty-four hour period on 8 June (the feast of the Sacred Heart) this year, groups of people at designated prayer locations around the world will pray the rosary and then hand over to another group until the entire globe is encircled in a spiritual prayer relay. It is all about praying for an allocated period of time and then spiritually passing on the prayer to the next prayer location. In this way millions of people will add their unique voice to what will become a tsunami of prayerfulness circumnavigating the world in a strong voice for the sanctification of our priests.
Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and Champion all are part of a select group of places where the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared.
In America, The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion covers the peace-filled holy ground deemed ‘worthy of belief’ by authority of the Catholic Church, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared.
Identifying herself as ‘The Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners,’ Mary appeared in October 1859 to a Belgian immigrant woman called Adele Brise, on the grounds of Champion Shrine, when the town was known as Robinsonville.
Friday 8 June is now visible on the horizon and it’s all systems go at Worldpriest, working with our coordinators worldwide as we prepare to have the entire world praying the rosary again for one purpose – to pray for the sanctification of all the priests who minister to millions of Catholics around the world.
This year we believe we will exceed the incredible 10,000,000 participants who joined us in 2017 as we bring huge numbers of people from all cultural backgrounds together again to offer their prayers worldwide from a number of new prayer locations in various corner of the world.