September 17, 2018
Solas Nua's Irish Popcorn! film series and NYU Washington, DC presented, "Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village" by one of Ireland's top documentarians Aoife Kelleher ("One Million Dubliners").
In August, Pope Francis visits the Irish shrine in the small Irish village of Knock, where in 1879, fifteen people bore witness to an apparition of the Virgin Mary. The village, declared by the Catholic Church a Marian Shrine, today welcomes more than one million pilgrims annually. The film builds a vibrant portrait of the phenomenon through its devotees- invalids seeking cures; the eight sibling owners of rival religious merchandise shops; a woman relieved of multiple sclerosis during a 1970s pilgrimage; feisty Mildred, advocate for gender parity for the shrine's handmaids; Father Richard Gibbons, charismatic, outward-looking parish priest on a mission to entice new transatlantic visitors via Knock Airport. With its references to "the scandals", falling church attendances and the eighth amendment (abortion), the film presents a timely reflection on the position of the Church in modern Ireland.