Enjoy this wonderful rendition of the hymn "Our Lady of Knock" performed at the official New York City St. Patrick's Day Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Cathy Maguire's stirring performance of "Our Lady of Knock" was a highlight for Cardinal Timothy Dolan St. Patrick's Day in 2017.
Professional singer Maguire, a native of Dundalk in Co Louth, sang out the lyrics to a packed St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Facebook reaction was immediate.
Maguire told IrishCentral the reaction to her performance was overwhelming and she looks forward to following up with the numerous appearance requests that have come her way since. This video has now had over one million views.
The feast of Our Lady of Knock on August 21 celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary alongside St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and the Lamb of God in the poor rural village of Knock, County Mayo, on August 21, 1879.
The apparition last two hours and resulted in Knock becoming one of the most sacred sites in Ireland.
The area is now an approved Catholic shrine and a place of pilgrimage, while it is one of the major Marian shrines in Europe.
Listen here to a beautiful rendition of one of Ireland's most beautiful hymns:
"Our Lady of Knock"
The hymn has a rich history and is often sung during Mass, novenas, and other religious celebrations.
On the evening of August 21, 1879, a group of villagers in Knock witnessed a miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist on the gable wall of their local parish church. The figures appeared in a silent tableau, and the witnesses were overcome with a sense of peace and awe.
Over the years, the apparition at Knock became a symbol of hope and faith for the people of Ireland. It is said that many who prayed to Our Lady of Knock were granted miracles, and the site became a popular destination for pilgrims from all over the world.
The hymn "Our Lady of Knock" was written by Fr. John MacGillivray, a Scottish Catholic priest, in 1879, shortly after the apparition at Knock took place. The hymn's lyrics reflect the deep devotion and gratitude felt by Catholics towards the Virgin Mary, who is regarded as a powerful intercessor and protector.
The first verse of the hymn goes as follows:
"Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland's isle, All holy and meek, all pure and undefiled, With a child on your arm and a lamb at your feet, You came to this village, fair Queen of Retreat."
The hymn speaks of the beauty and majesty of Mary, who is often referred to as the Queen of Heaven. The imagery of the child and the lamb at her feet symbolizes her maternal love and compassion towards all humanity.
The second verse of the hymn is equally moving:
"We pray for our country, the land that we love, Our Lady of Knock, be with us from above. May justice and peace be in Ireland's domain, And the love of the Virgin in every heart reign."
This verse reflects the deep love and patriotism felt by many Irish Catholics towards their country, which has a long and storied history of conflict and turmoil. The hymn implores Mary to intercede on behalf of Ireland, bringing peace and justice to the land and instilling love and devotion in the hearts of all its people.
* Originally published in 2017. Updated March 2023.