An Irish Story
On August 21, 1879, Mary McLoughlin and Mary Beirne were walking past the Village chapel in Knock, Ireland. They both saw something unusual. Word soon spread after that and others came. Fifteen people gave testimony to the commission of inquiry that formed later.
They all attested to seeing, with some minor variations, a lamb on an altar. Behind the lamb was a cross. To the right side of the lamb, stood a figure holding a book that was taken to be John the Evangelist holding a book of the Gospels. To his right, was the Virgin Mary and Joseph. The vision did not come and go, nor was it momentary. It lasted for several hours. The scene was bathed in a brilliant light and, though it was raining heavily that night, the ground under the apparition was quite dry.
The scene clearly represents the Catholic Mass. The first part of the Mass involves readings from Scripture and the Gospels. This leads to the second part, and the re-presentation to the Father of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the Cross. At every Mass, Mary and Joseph are in attendance.
The Holy Family that was present at the first Christmas is thus present at every Mass, when Christ comes again and again to His people in the Blessed Sacrament.
(Source: “The Official Testimonies of the Fifteen Witnesses to the Knock Apparition on August 21, 1879,” http://www.knock-shrine.ie/uploads/documents/The%2015%20Depositions%20arranged%20alphabetically.pdf.)