The 21st August is traditionally a day that we especially remember the fifteen witnesses as individual, ordinary people who were going about their lives, carrying out routine chores or visiting neighbours. Their experiences on that day changed their lives and the fabric of this place and what is would come to represent for future generations.
Knock has long been associated with Our Lady, her presence in the Apparition scene is something that has inspired people for generations. When people come to Knock, often they come to experience the peace of the Shrine grounds and to pray for Our Lady’s intercession. The witnesses themselves were immediately drawn to Our Lady’s presence, a reflection of their deep Marian devotion.
Devotion to St. Joseph has always emphasised his role as the protector of the Holy Family and he appears at Knock as a secure gentle presence beside his wife, head bowed reverently toward her acknowledging and reminding us of her unique place in the history of the Church.
St. John the Evangelist stands between Our Lady and the altar and Lamb. It is his Gospel that refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God. He appears to be preaching on the Eucharistic altar, cross and Lamb that is at the very centre of the Apparition.
The Apparition scene at Knock has deep liturgical meaning, symbolic richness and has been the subject of theological study and contemplation since 1879. Unique to the Apparition at Knock, is the representation of the Eucharist as the risen Lord which appeared as the Lamb on the altar, standing before his Cross and surrounded by a host of angels. This aspect of the Apparition was detailed by the fifteen witnesses who, on the 21st August 1879, stood in pouring rain for two hours reciting the rosary before the Apparition scene.
In March this year, Knock was elevated by Pope Francis to an International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine , through the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation.
In elevating Knock to an International Marian and Eucharistic Shrine, Pope Francis is officially recognising this completely unique element of the Apparition scene, a visual presentation of the gift and mystery of the Eucharist.
This central element is not to be found in any other recognised Marian Apparition.
During his message on the great occasion in Knock’s history, Pope Francis explained the significance behind this recognition of the Shrine;
“My dear brothers and sisters present at Knock, and all of you who may be watching from afar, the elevation of the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock to an International Sanctuary of Special Eucharistic and Marian Devotion is a great responsibility. You accept to always have your arms wide open as a sign of welcome to every pilgrim who may arrive from any part of the world, asking nothing in return but only recognizing him as a brother or a sister who desires to share the same experience of fraternal prayer. May this welcome be joined with charity and become an effective witness to a heart which is open to receiving the Word of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit which gives us strength.”
Mass Times on the 21 August will take place at 10am, 12 noon, 3pm, 5pm and 7.30pm (Rosary at 7pm).
All Masses take place at Knock Basilica and as capacity is restricted to 200 people at each Mass, we advise you to arrive early. There is a queuing system in place in advance of each Mass on a first come, first served basis. Unfortunately, you will not be able to access the Basilica once full capacity has been reached.