Earlier today I went to Knock. I had two reasons for going. So far, so good!!
One was food:) I went to Le Cheile which is located on the grounds of the Shrine and is a very good place for lunch. (Trip Advisor how are you??) I had a lovely bowl of Seafood Chowder and an equally lovely homemade burger with onion rings and a very tasty mashed potato. The first part of my journey plan was a success. I left as happy as I was filled.
The second reason was to pay a visit to the Basilica to see the new mosaic that was unveiled on Sunday last. I’d seen images and a short video clip on Twitter but knew that the real thing had to be seen. I was not disappointed there either.
It’s a lovely piece of work. Somebody mentioned the other night that it is the biggest mosaic in Europe. I don’t know whether that’s true or not but, as they say, “I’m only saying”! Certainly it is imposing, impressive and, most importantly, an invitation to enter a Sacred Story.
The colours are stunning and the capturing of the falling rain is clever and a reminder of the power of the moment where people found themselves able to stand, transfixed and consoled, in the rain without seeking shelter. They’re all there. People of all ages, The Lamb on the Altar, Mary, Joseph and John The Evangelist, the stone wall, the gable wall – all captured as it has been explained to us through the years.
I looked at it in its entirety and enjoyed what was there to be seen. I tried to break it down a little. I focused on The Lamb of God which is, after all, the central message of the Knock Story. I looked at Mary, Joseph and John. I looked at the basket beside the kneeling woman and wondered. Was she the small boy in the crowd who had “loaves and fishes” to share? If she was, they seemed to be shared for it looked empty to me. Was she going or coming from somewhere? Either way the journey was interrupted and the basket being carried, had to be put down.
I saw a man on the right hand side of the mosaic, with his head lowered. The others were all looking but he seemed to have seen enough and knew that the response was to bow the head “daring not even raise his eyes to heaven” – Jesus spoke about a man like that one time too.
There were three that caught my attention more than the rest. An old man with a white beard. He could be found in any parish or old photograph in a family album. Family! That’s what caught my eye. Beside him was a younger man and with him a boy. The old man, looks to the boy and seems to be explaining something to him – the Faith, I’d like to think – while the son listens on. There’s a lesson for all. I liked the idea of the three generations being caught in the moment and the teaching role of the grandfather brought to fore. It sort of reminded me of “TRINITY”.
Anyway, I took a few photos. I’ll put them here and you can see what you think. The photos go so far but, for what it’s worth, I’d suggest you go and have a look yourself. You can have some “chowder” too!
I came away from the Basilica as full and satisfied as I left “Le Cheile”.