Knock (An Cnoc, meaning The Hill – but now more generally known in Irish as Cnoc Mhuire, "Hill of (the Virgin) Mary") is a small town in County Mayo in Ireland. Knock's notability derives from the Apparition of 1879, when, at 8.00PM on 21 August 1879, it was reported that the Virgin Mary, together with St Joseph and St John the Evangelist, appeared to local people.
In the 20th century it became one of Europe's major Roman Catholic Marian shrines, alongside Lourdes and Fatima. One and a half million pilgrims visit Knock Shrine annually. It was visited by Pope John Paul II, a supporter of devotion to the Virgin Mary, in 1979 to commemorate the centenary of the apparition.
Monsignor James Horan
Monsignor James Horan became parish priest of Knock in 1963 and achieved three major, landmark accomplishments.
- Construction of a new basilica, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, at Knock Shrine in 1967 that can accommodate 10,000.
- The construction of Ireland-West Airport was against a background of cynicism and reluctance in many quarters. However, the airport, which opened on October 25 1985, has injected a sustained vitality into County Mayo and has become an important feature in the region's, and Ireland's, economic welfare. The Monsignor travelled on the inaugural flight from Knock to Rome.
- A visit by Pope John Paul II to visit Knock in 1979 to commemorate the centenary of the apparition.