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Weather echoes night of apparition for a day that will live on in memory

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The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit from Pope Francis to Knock Shrine. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit from Pope Francis to Knock Shrine. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit from Pope Francis to Knock Shrine. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

As the story goes, the apparition at Knock in August 1879 occurred on a wet, miserable night in the Co Mayo village. A persistent sheet of rain lashed down as a young Mary Beirne caught sight of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist on the gable end of the small parish church.

It was fitting then, that the man above didn't call off the rain clouds in Knock yesterday. The heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits of the estimated 45,000-strong crowd who gathered at the shrine to witness Pope Francis's visit to the west-of-Ireland pilgrimage site.

There were early starts for many - the Dismore family hit the road at 2am from Co Antrim. Knock holds a special place in the hearts of husband and wife Thomas and Helen, as they had visited when Helen was expecting the couple's third child Ultan (2).

Music and song prepared the thousands of pilgrims for the arrival of the Pope, with a mix of traditional fare and hymns lifting the mood as the rain persisted.

Some 15 local people also read out the testimonies of witnesses to the apparition at Knock as the crowd awaited Pope Francis. Molly Hunt (8), who lives in Knock, was chosen to be among those in the re-enactment, which mum Pauline said could only be described as a privilege.

"I'm excited," Molly said before her big moment, as she kept her costume from the 1800s dry under a rain-proof poncho.

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Audrey Elliott with the Mayo jersey signed by Pope Francis which she hopes will lift the Mayo All-Ireland ‘curse’. Photo: PA

Audrey Elliott with the Mayo jersey signed by Pope Francis which she hopes will lift the Mayo All-Ireland ‘curse’. Photo: PA

Audrey Elliott with the Mayo jersey signed by Pope Francis which she hopes will lift the Mayo All-Ireland ‘curse’. Photo: PA

"I was picked at school and I had to do loads of practice."

For some it wasn't the first time they had gathered for a Papal visit. "I saw Pope John Paul II in Limerick," said Patrick Manning from Mitchelstown, Cork. Patrick had rosary beads with him that were blessed by Pope Benedict and now he had seen his third Pontiff.

"It was an amazing experience," he said.

The Barbieri family represented families during the Angelus at Knock, and greeted Pope Francis as he was welcomed to the stage at the shrine.

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Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd  at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

26/08/2018 Pope Francis passes Knock Basilica as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Pope Francis passes Knock Basilica as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd  at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

26/08/2018 Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd  at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

26/08/2018 Cleonagh and Declan Sweeney, from Raheen, Limerick with their children from left to right, Cathal, 9, Amy, 7, Katelyn, 4, and Donnacha, 10 at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Cleonagh and Declan Sweeney, from Raheen, Limerick with their children from left to right, Cathal, 9, Amy, 7, Katelyn, 4, and Donnacha, 10 at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Young girls waving flags as Pope Francis arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Young girls waving flags as Pope Francis arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

26/08/2018 A young girl waves a flag as pope Francis visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 A young girl waves a flag as pope Francis visited Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Pope Francis delivers an address to the crowd at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis delivers an address to the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis cape blows over his head during a windy spell as he delivers his speech at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis cape blows over his head during a windy spell as he delivers his speech at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis arrives at the Apparition Chapel at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis arrives at the Apparition Chapel at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets addresses the crowd  at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets addresses the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis addresses the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis addresses the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Empty seats as Pope Francis addresses the crowd after he arrived at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Empty seats as Pope Francis addresses the crowd after he arrived at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Declan Ganley arriving at Knock Shrine to see Pope Francis.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Declan Ganley arriving at Knock Shrine to see Pope Francis. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Declan Ganley arriving at Knock Shrine to see Pope Francis.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Declan Ganley arriving at Knock Shrine to see Pope Francis. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Empty seats as Pope Francis addresses the crowd after he arrived at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Empty seats as Pope Francis addresses the crowd after he arrived at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis delivers an address to the crowd at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis delivers an address to the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Gardai pictured waiting to say goodbye to OPope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Gardai pictured waiting to say goodbye to OPope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis leaves Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis leaves Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Members of Pope Francis Entourage board the Plane at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Members of Pope Francis Entourage board the Plane at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pope Francis speaks to the audience during his visit to Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis speaks to the audience during his visit to Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis arrives at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis arrives at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis arrives at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis arrives at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis greets children after arriving in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis greets children after arriving in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis lays a wreath at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis lays a wreath at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis lights a candle at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis lights a candle at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland August 26, 2018. Vatican Media/Handout

Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis during a visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets school children after arriving at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis arrives for his visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis arrives for his visit to Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo to view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis is presented with flowers by Saoirse McCarthy, 11, from St. Patrick's National School, Cloonlyon, Co. Mayo as he arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock, County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

Pope Francis is presented with flowers by Saoirse McCarthy, 11, from St. Patrick's National School, Cloonlyon, Co. Mayo as he arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock, County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

Pope Francis greets Knock School Children at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis greets Knock School Children at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis is kissed by Mary McCarthy at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis is kissed by Mary McCarthy at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane arrives at Ireland West Airport, Knock. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Schoolchildren from St. Patrick’s National School, Cloonlyon wait to greet Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Schoolchildren from St. Patrick’s National School, Cloonlyon wait to greet Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis with Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring greets Clergy at Ireland West Airport, Knock.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis with Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring greets Clergy at Ireland West Airport, Knock. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Michael Ring, Minister for Rural Affairs with Catherine Hynes (wife of MAyo Co, Manager) and Blackie Gavin, Lord MAyor, Castlebar at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Michael Ring, Minister for Rural Affairs with Catherine Hynes (wife of MAyo Co, Manager) and Blackie Gavin, Lord MAyor, Castlebar at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane pictured arriving at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

The Pope’s Plane pictured arriving at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis carefully makes his way down the steps from his plane at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis carefully makes his way down the steps from his plane at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis greets Knock School Children at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis greets Knock School Children at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis is greeted by a delegation of clergy and representatives from Ireland West Airport as he arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

People wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

People wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pope Francis as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis blesses schoolchildren as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis blesses schoolchildren as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis blesses schoolchildren as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pope Francis blesses schoolchildren as he arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrives at Ireland West Airport in Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

The faithful wait ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Schoolchildren wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Schoolchildren wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock in County Mayo, as part of his visit to Ireland. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
 Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland.
 Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The faithful wait in the rain ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. 
 Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pilgrims wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Knock Holy Shrine, in County Mayo where he will view the Apparition Chapel and to give the Angelus address, as part of his visit to Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire

26/08/2018 Liam Hughes, from Athlone at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Liam Hughes, from Athlone at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Annemarie and Aaron Ward from Tuam with their children from left to right Destiny, Santana and Martin pictured at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Annemarie and Aaron Ward from Tuam with their children from left to right Destiny, Santana and Martin pictured at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Holly, 8 and Paddy, 6, Hunt from Knock pictured outside Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Holly, 8 and Paddy, 6, Hunt from Knock pictured outside Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Holly, 8 and Paddy, 6, Hunt from Knock pictured outside Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Holly, 8 and Paddy, 6, Hunt from Knock pictured outside Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Rev Thomas Harrington from Cork arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Rev Thomas Harrington from Cork arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims and children arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims and children arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

Pilgrims including Dominic Dunleavy from Tuam arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims including Dominic Dunleavy from Tuam arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

26/08/2018 Annemarie and Aaron Ward from Tuam with their children from left to right Destiny, Santana and Martin pictured at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 Annemarie and Aaron Ward from Tuam with their children from left to right Destiny, Santana and Martin pictured at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 People wait in the rain at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 People wait in the rain at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 People wait in the rain at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

26/08/2018 People wait in the rain at Knock Shrine for the visit of Pope Francis. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th August 2018

Pilgrims arriving to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

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Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis address the crowd at Knock Shrine. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th August 2018

A recovered addict, Davide Barbieri (46) has lived in Knock with his family since 2007. He originally came here in 1999, and was involved in setting up the Cenacolo Centre here to help people battle addiction.

"I was in Community Cenacolo because I was a recovering addict, I was on the streets, I was doing heroin and involved in criminality. In 1996 after five attempts of suicide I joined the Cenacolo Community in Italy," explained Davide, originally from Racconigi, a small Italian village 40km south of Turin. "In 1999, a project to bring the Cenacolo Community was led by myself and six other men."

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Davide said he was homeless for three-and-a-half years but turned his life around through his faith. He met his wife Naoimh, from Dublin, with whom he has six children, through the community in Knock.

"She used to support the community through prayer and gave us our providence," he said.

"I found what I was looking for - like the Bono song! Knock is a beautiful place where the kids can grow up in a safe environment and the shrine has an important part in our lives."

"Pope Francis is special," he added. "We have a child, we named him Francis after the Holy Father. We were expecting our sixth child when the Holy Father was elected. His humility when he came out on the balcony, his simplicity and his goodness, made my family fall in love with him."

Sr Mary Olivia (42), a Carmelite nun who lives in an enclosed order in Knock, had missed her sister's wedding on Saturday but was delighted to be joined by her brother and his family, and her mother, for the Pope's visit. "It was a dream today, a gift from God that he was here. My own vocation as a Carmelite, I find him so inspiring - his work with the homeless nourishes my soul," she said.

Meanwhile, a relative of one of the original visionaries stood in the colourful sea of people at the shrine. Katherine Tolan's great-grandfather Patrick Walsh witnessed the bright lights that appeared on the gable end of the church from a nearby field.

"It's very special to be here today," said Katherine, who was accompanied by her sister-in-law Caroline Eaton.

Caroline said: "It was an amazing feeling to see him."

Meanwhile, the religious fervour felt by Mayo's loyal GAA supporters received a Papal blessing when Pope Francis signed a Mayo jersey as he flew out of Knock airport for Audrey Elliott.

She is hoping that divine intervention will help to lift the 'curse' that has blighted Mayo's quest for an All-Ireland since 1951, when the county last lifted the Sam Maguire.


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