Notable Visitors To Knock Shrine

“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.”




Excerpt from the message of Pope Francis on the occasion of the elevation of Knock Shrine to the status of International Eucharistic & Marian Shrine

March 19th 2021



Pope John Paul II


To celebrate the centenary of the Knock Apparition, Pope John Paul visited Knock Shrine on 30 September 1979.  His Holiness described his visit as ‘the goal of my journey to Ireland’. .  He was greeted by a gathering of over 450, 000 people. The place where he celebrated an outdoor Mass is now marked by a large Papal Cross.

Knock Shrine had the honour of being presented with the gift of a Golden Rose, a symbol of the Risen Christ, and one of only 9 such Roses presented by Pope John Paul II during his 25 year papacy. Pope John Paul II was canonised as Saint John Paul II in 2014.

Mother Teresa


In June 1993, Mother Teresa came on pilgrimage to Knock Shrine. Dressed in her white and blue sari, the slight little figure was welcomed by more than 50,000 pilgrims who had gathered at the Shrine to greet her.

From the outdoor altar at Knock Basilica, Mother Teresa addressed the sick and later recited the Rosary in the peaceful tranquility of the the Apparition Chapel. Mother Teresa was canonised as St. Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.



Pope Francis


During the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in 2018, His Holiness, Pope Francis came as a pilgrim to Knock Shrine., where he was warmly welcomed by thousands of pilgrims who gathered in heavy rain for the occasion.  Silence descended on the large crowd that had gathered to welcome him as His Holiness took time for quiet prayer in the Apparition Chapel. Here he lit a specially commissioned candle as a symbol of the light of hope spoken about by the Knock Apparition Witnesses.  He then greeted the assembled gathering in the prayer of the Angelus.

As a remembrance of his visit, Pope Francis presented the Shrine with a Rosary, as a symbol of the importance of the tradition of the family rosary in Ireland.

President Joe Biden

The 46th president of the USA, Joe Biden was welcomed on a private visit to Knock Shrine during his visit to his ancestral roots in Mayo in April 2023. Having heard the unique story of the Knock Apparition, as depicted in the stunning mosaic in the Basilica, President Biden then followed in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims who have gone before him and made his way to the Apparition Chapel, the site of the Apparition of 1879.

The president took time for some quiet prayer and reflection in the Chapel and lit a candle for his prayer intentions. The historic occasion marked the first visit by a president of the United States of America to Knock Shrine.