April 22, 2023 // National

Tearful Joe Biden Visits Major Irish Marian Shrine in Knock, Ireland

KNOCK, Ireland (OSV News) — President Joe Biden was moved to tears at Ireland’s National Marian Shrine in Knock, County Mayo, April 14 on learning that the priest who gave his terminally ill son, Beau Biden, the last rites in 2015 was now serving at the popular Irish shrine. The president of the United States learned of Father Frank O’Grady’s role in his son’s final hours while visiting the basilica in Knock accompanied by the shrine’s rector, Father Richard Gibbons. Father Gibbons had only learned of the coincidence a couple of hours before Biden’s arrival in the small village in western Ireland. Father Gibbons told OSV News that the President was “very emotional” and broke down. He then insisted on meeting Father O’Grady, even though the elderly priest hadn’t been cleared by the security services. Before his departure, Father Gibbons gifted Biden with a piece of the original stone gable wall where the apparition took place. “He laughed; he told stories; I told stories; and he cried. There was the wonderful connection between family and faith and then at the end, I presented him with the gift, which was the little piece of stone — and he loved that.” After Knock, Biden had a number of other engagements in County Mayo, including visiting the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice of which he is a patron. The president unveiled a plaque to Beau Biden at the hospice. Joe Biden delivered a major public address in Ballina town, County Mayo, on the evening of April 14 in front of St. Muredach’s Cathedral after viewing his family’s ancestry records with parish priest, Father Kieran Holmes.

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