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Churches

There are five churches in the Shrine grounds, each with its own unique and exquisite features. From the Parish Church, built in 1829, to the Basilica constructed to give shelter to the millions that visit here each year, there is a wealth of architectural and decorative features to be enjoyed.

“ It gives me great pleasure to announce that in honour of Our Blessed Lady, on this Centenary Year at Knock, the new Church recently built in her honour will from this day forward be known under the title of the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of Ireland. ”

Saint John Paul II, 30th September, 1979

The High Altar in Knock Parish Church

The beautiful high altar in the Parish Church was made in the studio of Mr. P. J Scannell of Cork and was presented as a gift during a pilgrimage in 1880. The style is gothic the materials comprising the altar and tabernacle are Sicilian Cork Red and Galway Green Marbles.

The Reredos is mainly Caen stone relieved with panels of Alabaster marble and jewels, and contains besides figures of the Evangelists two finely carved groups – one of the Nativity and the other Our Saviour at the final scene of the Temptation when Angels came and ministered unto Him, a representation of Agnus Dei is over the tabernacle and each of these is surmounted by a carved canopy rich in finials bosses and mouldings relieved by coloured marble spandrels and panels the portion beyond the altar and on the same level is delicately dispersed. The chief feature of the work

however is the Pieta a group of the members of which are nearly life-size of the closing scene of the Passion. Its most prominent figure is that of Our Lord just taken down from the Cross- the body stretched at length the chest raised somewhat from the ground by the right arm of the Blessed Lady in whose left hand rests the yielding arm of her son easy as before the rigidity of death sets in. St. John is represented kneeling at the head in the act of removing the crown of thorns.”

 

Knock Basilica 

It was the great wish of Monsignor Horan, P.P., Knock 1967-1986 to give shelter to the thousands of pilgrims visiting Knock Shrine. The foundation stone for the Basilica was blessed on 6 June 1974 by John Paul VI and laid by Dr. Joseph Cunnane, Archbishop of Tuam on the 15 August 1974, the feast of the Assumption. The Basilica was designed by Architects Louis J. Brennan, Brian Brennan, and Dáithí P. Hanly and was officially opened on the 18th July 1976. Originally, the Basilica held the title ‘Church of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland’, however it was raised to the status of Basilica during the Papal visit in 1979.

Knock Basilica has recently undergone an enormous refurbishment programme which was carried out by A&D Wejcherts Architects, Dublin. The new award-winning interior radiates an atmosphere of warmth and welcome in a space that is sacred and peaceful. Every detail has been developed with the comfort of pilgrims in mind, from the beautiful ash wood seating designed and installed by Irish Contract Seating to the clear acoustics and atmospheric lighting.

Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects
Knock Shrine Basilica: A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects

 

Basilica Apparition Mosaic

The artistic highlight of Knock Basilica is the spectacular mosaic depicting the Knock Apparition scene of 1879. The mosaic is the largest of its kind in Europe, comprising 1.5 million pieces of individual mosaic tiles. It was crafted in Spilimbergo, Italy by Travisanutto, Artisan Mosaic makers and was deigned here in Ireland by the renowned illustrator, PJ Lynch

Mosaic Traditionally Crafted

Basilica Mosaic

The entire mosaic, from commissioning the project to the official unveiling, took more than two years and took over eight months to piece together in Italy before being transported in over 300 sections to Knock. The mosaic is made predominantly (approx 80 %) from Venetian glass smalti (traditional hand-cut mosaic glass). The rest (15%) is natural marble mosaic and the remaining 5% is made of gold smalti (glass and gold leaf). The mosaic at Knock Shrine is a ‘Beacon of Light and Hope for pilgrims’ (Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary) and was developed under ‘Witness to Hope’, a major renewal project at Knock Shrine.

Find out more amazing facts about the Mosaic…

The focal point of the Basilica is the brilliant white Sivec marble sanctuary which incorporates the Lamb of God mosaic. Sivec marble, mined in Macedonia, is famous for its pure white, unblemished characteristics and its use can be traced back thousands of years. The carefully restored Blessed Sacrament Chapel provides quiet space for worship and contemplation.

View times for Daily Masses 


The Apparition Chapel

The Shrine at Knock

In the Shrine, pilgrims can come to see the very spot where the Apparition was witnessed in 1879. Many changes have taken place since then. Today, the Shrine is quiet and peaceful and provides a space for reflective prayer and contemplation. Groups who are travelling to Knock with a priest can book a private Mass here.

The original gable wall has been preserved in its original appearance, highlighting the brilliant white Carrara marble carvings of Our Lady with St. John the Evangelist to her right and St. Joseph to her left. The Lamb is placed in the centre of the chapel on an altar surrounded by beautifully carved angels. Careful consideration was given to designing the scene to replicate the Apparition as described by the fifteen witnesses. The figures were sculpted by Professor Lorenzo Ferri in Rome in 1960 before being transported to Knock.

The Parish Church

When Fr. P. O’Grady decided to build a new Parish Church in 1828, he had no idea that it would become extraordinarily famous all over the world. He had, however an inscription placed on its west outer wall which can still be seen there today.

1. Knock Parish Church Inscription 1828

In light of all that has taken place in Knock over more than a hundred years, that inscription is now regarded as prophetic. The Parish Church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the Apparition took place half a century later at the south-facing gable wall of the church.

“Here may prayer, the Church’s banquet resound through heaven and earth as a plea for the world’s salvation. Here may sinners experience your mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. ”

Prayer of Dedication

The Chapel of Reconciliation

This Chapel was designed by Architects de Blacam & Meagher following an Architectural competition in 1988, which was held by Monsignor Greally, P.P., and Director of the Knock Shrine at this time. Going to Confessions or receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of pilgrimage at Knock. The Chapel is beautifully constructed on a low site, which is of symbolic significance as the descent into the chapel recalls the rite of Baptism. In the early centuries, Baptism was conferred by immersion in a pool which was approached by a descent from higher ground.

Today, the Chapel of Reconciliation provides daily Confessions and is also home to Knock Counselling Centre.

The beautiful mosaic in the Chapel of Reconciliation was designed by Sr. Angelica Juarez, Order of the Divine Master in Rome. The gold spirals or rays surrounding the Crucifixion represent hope rising up from the scene, with the broader theme of the mosaic design focused around that same theme of hope. The lantern in the sanctuary represents a beacon of light in the centre of the building, which is otherwise quite dark. The idea behind this is that when one approaches the centre from the entrance, the scene becomes brighter. This is also in keeping with the design of the building itself which goes below ground level, with only a single shaft of light coming down through the high roof in the center so the lighting is naturally dark making the Reredos a central focus of light, brightness and hope.

““Math. 11 Cap. ‘My House shall be called the House of Prayer to all Nations. (ps. 117), This is the Gate of the Lord. The Just shall enter into it.” ”

Erected by Rev. P. O’Grady, P.P., Sept. 1828.

May Altar Parish Church resized

Our Lady’s Altar, Parish Church

In the west side-aisle, on the right of the Sanctuary is Our Lady’s altar where votive lights burn continuously for the intentions of the pilgrims and here, too, are the petition boxes.

The white statue of the Virgin which stands in the centre, above the Altar, is without a crown and represents Our Lady assumed into Heaven. A panel of mosaic to the right of the Statue depicts the Lamb and the Cross of the Apparition and panel to the left depicts a golden crown being offered to the statue of the Virgin.

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