An eye-catching mosaic depicting the Apparition of Our Lady in 1879 was unveiled at Our Lady’s Basilica at Knock Shrine on Sunday last week.
Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev Michael Neary D.D. officially unveiled the magnificent artwork at Mass on Sunday, February 28. The mosaics collectively contains more than 1.5 million individual pieces.
The mosaic, illustrated by renowned Irish artist PJ Lynch, depicts in incredible detail the 1879 Apparition, as described by the 15 official witnesses.
Measuring 46ft in height, and same width, it is understood to be one of Europe’s biggest pieces of mosaic on a flat surface. It has been inlaid on the wall behind the sanctuary in the newly refurbished Basilica at Knock.
In his homily at Mass on Sunday, when the mosaic was unveiled, the Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said: “We thank God for this marvellous day as we unveil this magnificent mosaic, which conveys in such breath-taking beauty the mystery of the Apparition."
On the evening of Thursday, 21 August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people, whose ages ranged from five years to seventy-five and included men, women, teenagers and children, witnessed a vision of Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and Saint John the Evangelist beside an altar. On the altar was a cross and a lamb (a traditional image of Jesus, as reflected in the religious phrase The Lamb of God) with adoring angels.
An ecclesiastical Commission of inquiry was established by the then Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. John MacHale, on 8 October 1879. The commission declared that the apparition was trustworthy, and international media reported the story, Knock became a major pilgrimage site.
A number of cures and favors are associated with visitors to Our Lady of Knock’s Shrine and those who claim to have been cured here still leave crutches and sticks at the spot where the apparition is believed to have occurred.
Four recent Popes visited the Shrine at knock including Pope John Paul II who made a personal pilgrimage to the Shrine to the shrine on Sept. 30, 1979. He addressed the sick and the nursing staff, celebrated Mass, established the shrine church as a basilica, presented a candle and the golden rose to the shrine, and finally knelt in prayer at the apparition wall.