Thursday, August 21, 2008

Feast Day: Our Lady of Knock

Today is one of my favorite Marian apparition feast days -- the apparition of Mary, St. Joseph, St. John and the Lamb of God in a small village in Ireland. The Feast of Our Lady of Knock, patroness of Ireland.

The time is 1879 Ireland ... an Ireland decimated by the potato famine and subjugation which led to the ex-patriation of many Irish. The small agrarian economy of Knock was as depressed as her townspeople. It was a rainy, blustery evening and folks were coming home ... the village Church was being locked for the evening.

Suddenly, a bright glow appeared and the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and St. John appeared to the passersby ... with the Lamb of God on an altar, surrounded by angels. The silent apparition remained for almost two hours, while the 15 or so villagers stood and prayed the rosary.

This apparition gave hope to those villagers, to all of Ireland. God was letting all of Ireland know that she was not forgotten or forsaken ... despair had no place on the Emerald Isle.

Today, this apparition still gives hope in a world that has gone so far astray. A shrine was built that needs to be seen to be believed. It is beautiful! Bam-Bam (ok, he was only four months old so he probably doesn't really remember) and I were fortunate to feel that hope when we went to Ireland in 2003 on pilgrimage, joining the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who visit Knock each year.

A pilgrimage I will never forget!

(Eleventh Century Irish Litany of Mary)

Great Mary,
Greatest of Marys,
Greatest of Women,
Mother of Eternal Glory,
Mother of the Golden Light,
Honor of the Sky,
Temple of the Divinity,
Fountain of the Gardens,
Serence as the Moon,
Bright as the Sun,
Garden Enclosed,
Temple of the Living God,
Light of Nazareth,
Beauty of the World,
Queen of Life,
Ladder of Heaven,
Mother of God.
Pray for us.

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