Once into Mayo, we head for Knock, site of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a group of villagers in the village of Knock, Ireland. Unlike the shrines at Fatima and Lourdes, Our Lady appeared to 15 villagers, so there were many corroborating stories of a lovely lady with a golden crown who was with St.Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and a lamb and altar. The witnesses stayed together in the pouring rain for over two hours praying, while the apparition stayed with them. It was Thursday, the 21st of August, 1879. So Thursday, when we arrived, was the 135th anniversary and as expected, there were special novenas, and programs of devotions. What I did not expect was that at 5 pm, I would be a able to pull up in front of the shrine, find a parking space and find less than 200 people on site. I thought there would be mobs, but instead saw that you could shoot a cannon though the site and not hit anyone.
It was not my first visit to the shrine. I first went in 1976 ( part of the famous, 3 Masses in 10 hours marathon…) and have made several visits over the years. I love the small chapel of the apparition, with the glass front, and the rest and care center for pilgrims who come seeking comfort from their afflictions. I love that it is still a working parish, even though there is a basilica right next to the little church. And I love the Holy Water fountains.On demand fountains, all day, everyday. Never runs out.