By Cian Molloy - 12 June, 2017
Crowds flocked to Knock, Ireland’s national Marian shrine, on Saturday following reports on social media that Our Lady would appear there at 3 pm.
The reports originated with the father of a 14-year-old boy who was among a group of British-based members of the Travelling community who were in Fatima last month.
It was claimed that the boy experienced visions of Our Lady over two days while in Fatima and that she told him that she would appear at Knock on 10 June.
In an audio clip posted on the internet the boy’s father said: “Our Lady will appear on the ground and will bless everyone on the ground. It’s out there for everybody who believes in it and who doesn’t believe in it, but what I am telling here is the truth. If you want to be there on 10 June everyone is welcome.”
The audio clip was shared widely among members of the Travelling Community through social media.
Such were the numbers that turned up that An Gárda Síochana in Mayo had to put a traffic management plan into action to deal with the congestion. RTÉ reckoned that more than 2,000 extra pilgrims turned up in Knock as a result of the prediction. If one assumes that most of these were Travellers, it would mean that more than 5 per cent of Ireland’s Travelling Community was present in Knock on Saturday.
At the appointed hour, the basilica was full of the faithful and the curious, but Our Lady did not appear before the crowd. There were fears for the boy’s safety, but following the intervention of stewards, the day’s proceedings passed peacefully and without major incident.
In his audio message, the boy’s father revealed that having a son who claims to be having visions is not without pressures. “At the moment I am feeling stressed,” he says. “It’s a lot to take on, what’s happened in the last few days with my young fella. He is only 14 years of age. I am asking everyone out there to say a prayer for him as well, and us.”