Thousands wait for Knock apparition

 

THOUSANDS GATHERED at Knock Shrine, Co Mayo, yesterday hoping to see an apparition of Our Lady.

There were ripples of applause from a crowd estimated at more than 5,000 as some people believed they could see the sun shimmering, changing colour and dancing in the sky.

Some people were rapturous afterwards. Others were highly sceptical. “It’s an optical illusion, pure and simple,” one sceptic, who did not wish to be named, said. “Anybody looking at the bright sun long enough would begin to imagine things.” But other pilgrims were adamant that something supernatural, possibly life changing, had occurred.

John Tunney, from Islandeady, Castlebar, said: “I’m 53 years old and I never seen the sun go like that before. I witnessed the sun go all different colours, yellow, red and green. Then it completely darkened and began shimmering. Sometimes the sun emitted a clean, bright light, then it would darken again.”

Mr Tunney’s wife, Nina, said: “The sun was spinning in the sky. I experienced a feeling of total happiness. It is a feeling I would love to experience again. It was amazing. I felt marvellous.”

Yvonne Rabbitte, from Dunmore, Co Galway, showed other pilgrims a photograph she had taken on her digital camera which showed vivid rays radiating downwards from the sun at the time the image was taken.

Maggie Ahern, from Castlebar, had no doubt that the happenings in Knock were due to “heavenly intervention”.

Earlier in the week Dublin-based clairvoyant Joe Coleman predicted Our Lady would appear at the old parish church – scene of the 1879 apparition – at 3pm. Quite a number of those present were members of the Travelling community.

The crowds waited in the open air despite an invitation on loudspeaker at about 2.30pm from Knock parish priest Msgr Joseph Quinn that those in the grounds enter the adjacent Basilica to participate in ceremonies to mark the annual Dominican pilgrimage.

Msgr Quinn was not available for comment last night.