08/17/2022 – Knock Celebrations

Today the Church in Ireland celebrates the feast of the August 21st apparition of Knock. It also might mark the 105th anniversary of the death of one of her beloved priest sons, Fr Willie Doyle. “Might” because Fr Willie, a WWI chaplain died under fire at the Battle of Langemarck and in the chaos of war the exact day (August 16 or 17) is uncertain.

Fr Willie was just a boy when the Eucharistic Lamb of God accompanied by Our Lady, St Joseph, St John and Angels appeared visibly in Ireland.

Growing up in Dalkey, William was not present in Mayo for this grace but his young devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, brought him to solemnly consecrate himself to Mary for Jesus when he was 20 years old.

As a priest Fr Willie loved the rosary and “was renowned for encouraging the soldiers to say the rosary, especially during the May devotions when he organised Marian processions. He makes the following touching observation in a letter to his father:

There were many little touching incidents during these days; one especially I shall not easily forget. When the men had left the field after the evening devotions, I noticed a group of three young boys, brothers I think, still kneeling saying another rosary. They knew it was probably their last meeting on earth and they seemed to cling to one another for mutual comfort and strength, and instinctively turned to the Blessed Mother to help them in their hour of need. There they knelt as if they were alone and unobserved, their hands clasped and faces turned towards heaven, with such a look of beseeching earnestness that the Mother of Mercy surely must have heard their prayer: Holy Mary pray for us now at the hour of our death. Amen.” (williedoyle.org)