The Archbishop of Tuam has responded to an alleged visionary who predicted that another Marian apparition would take place at the Shrine of Knock, warning that recent gatherings inspired by his claims could obscure the “authentic identity” and “essential message” of the shrine.
The Shrine of Knock is at the site of an 1879 apparition where Mary, Joseph and St. John appeared to several laymen.
Joe Coleman of Dublin had predicted an apparition would take place on Oct. 11 at the Shrine of Knock church. He claimed the Virgin Mary said 50,000 would attend.
“I have seen her twice in recent months in the Gable chapel at Knock,” Coleman had told the Mayo News. “The statue comes alive, she opens her arms, a lovely pink cloak comes around her, there are stars above her head, she turned into Jesus, then to Padre Pio and then back to herself. While the vision is happening, I can see nothing else in the chapel.”
Coleman claimed he and several others had previously witnessed Marian apparitions. He also spoke of the great need for reconciliation and returning to churches.
According to BBC News, about 5,000 gathered at the shrine on Oct. 11. Some claimed to witness the sun shimmering and changing color.
Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary responded to Coleman’s alleged visions in an Oct. 26 statement.
He called the Shrine of Knock, which is in his archdiocese, a “much loved place of pilgrimage and prayer.” Its great gift, he wrote, consists in “prayer and the celebration of the sacraments, in penance and the conversion of life.”
The archbishop noted that Pope John Paul II had visited the shrine. The Pontiff had told how pilgrims have been healed, comforted and confirmed in their faith because they trusted that the Mother of God would lead them to her son Jesus.
“It is this trust in the Mother of God, this turning to her divine Son borne out in the practical care of the sick, and in the celebration of the sacraments of reconciliation, anointing and Eucharist that lie at the core of the Knock pilgrimage,” Archbishop Neary added.
“Such faith makes Knock pilgrims firm in hope and active in love for the sick and suffering. They do not expect visions or seek further apparitions. God has manifested Himself in Jesus Christ and His people have responded ever since.
“It is not healthy, does not give glory to God and certainly is not good witness to the faith to be looking for extraordinary phenomena,” the Irish archbishop said.
He said that the original apparition at Knock wasn’t sought for or expected by the “humble, honest people who were its astonished witnesses.”
“Their faith reveals the patience and humility that characterizes true belief.”
“Unfortunately, recent events at the Shrine obscure this essential message. They risk misleading God’s people and undermining faith. For this reason such events are to be regretted rather than encouraged,” the Archbishop of Tuam’s message concluded, saying that the Shrine will be best served by retaining its “authentic identity.”