August 21, 2019 marks the 140th anniversary of the apparitions at Knock, during which the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, and Christ under the appearance of a lamb, appeared to the townspeople of a small village of the west of Ireland. The apparitions did not come with an oral message.
Since the apparitions, Knock Sanctuary has been a place of devotion for Catholics in Ireland and around the world. In 2018, Pope Francis visited the sanctuary during his apostolic journey to Ireland, following the example of John Paul II, who made the pilgrimage himself, during his visit to Ireland in 1979, at the centenary of the apparitions.
“No message was spoken, and that’s one of the key aspects of the apparition,” Fr. Richard Gibbons, parish priest of Knock and rector of the sanctuary, explained to Vatican News on August 22, 2019.
“The message was in what they saw in the tableau that appeared before them,” says Fr. Gibbons, who adds that it is not the Virgin Mary who is at the center of the apparition, “but the altar, the Lamb, and the Cross, which refers to the Holy Mass.”
“The Mass was extremely important to maintain the faith of the faithful,” recalls the curé of Knock who concludes by quoting an adage from the Isle of Saints: “For the Irish, it was the Mass that mattered.”
In order to mark this anniversary with the liturgy, the Society of Saint Pius X in Ireland has organized a pilgrimage to Knock from September 13-15, 2019.
This event will be enhanced by the presence of Bishop Bernard Fellay, General Counsel of the Fraternity, whose latest book, For The Love of the Church, published by Via Romana, is set exactly in the problem of the Knock apparitions: “The place of the Society is in the center, in the heart of the Church. Because the priesthood and the Holy Mass, intimately connected with each other, are the heart of the Church; the pump that transmits the life of grace throughout the body,” writes the prelate in his work