EDUCATION: Formed in His Communion

VBS Day 4:  Our Lady of Knock


In 1879, the small village of Knock, in Ireland, was visited by an apparition of Our Lady.  At the time, Ireland was reeling from what would prove to be the last wave of the disease that had destroyed the potato crops starting in the 1840s.  The worst of the blight, the Famine Years of 1845 to 1852, saw up to 1.5 million deaths from starvation and disease.  A further million people left Ireland during these years, fleeing from hunger, disease, evictions, and economic collapse.   So, when the inhabitants of this small village heard or saw that crops were failing from potato blight, a host of terrible memories and deep fears welled up in their minds and hearts. 

Our Lady appeared in Knock on the wall of the parish church of St. John the Baptist.  This time, Mary did not appear alone.  Instead, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and the Lamb of God appeared beside her.  Also unlike the other apparations, Our Lady of Knock did not speak.  She did not ask anything of the people, did not instruct them, did not ask them to pray.  Instead, she offered her comforting presence and that of the other saints.  Most of all, she pointed the way to her Son, the Lamb of God. 

The children learned about this apparition and how Jesus is always with them, especially when they are suffering and need his help.  They can always turn to Jesus in the Eucharist.  Whenever the childdren are faced with a problem, big or small, they can turn to Our Lady who guides us to Jesus.

Today, we presented the Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation in the Temple.  The children learned about the Jewish religious obligation to present first-born sons to the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem.  We talked about how this ceremony was similar to Baptism and talked about other similarities between Catholic and Jewish practices, such as Confirmation and the Bar/Bas Mitzvah. 

Just as the people of Ireland fled from famine, disease, and poverty in the 19th century, today in the 21st century many people are still trying to escape from lives of desperation and danger.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has an Office of Migration Policy which presents a lot of good information about the Christian obligation to help people in this kind of need.










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