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President Joe Biden (R) is escorted around the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock by shrine rector Fr. Richard Gibbons (L) in Knock, IrelandYouTube/Screenshot

KNOCK, Ireland (LifeSiteNews) — A group of Irish Catholics prayed a Rosary of reparation today outside the Marian apparition site of Knock, County Mayo as U.S. President Joe Biden was given a special tour of the shrine.

Praying for his conversion from behind a security fence, the group then spread blessed salt throughout the shrine after Biden’s departure.

Organizer Rory O’Beirn told LifeSiteNews that there were few people in Knock to greet President Biden before his subsequent visit to St. Muredach’s Cathedral in north Mayo.

“There was an eerie absence of crowds,” O’Beirn said. “When we got access to the Basilica grounds soon after the departure of the presidential party, it was almost deserted. We immediately spread salt around the Church of the Apparition, the Parish Church, and the grounds while praying the ‘Princeps gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michael Archangele,’ the long version of Pope Leo XIII’s prayer to St. Michael.”

The apparition, in which 15 people witnessed Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John and the Lamb of God miraculously appear on the gable wall of Knock church on August 21, 1879, has transformed the village into Ireland’s most cherished Marian shrine.

Father Richard Gibbons, the shrine’s rector, was confronted Thursday by Andy Heasman, a local man who referred to the 8,500 unborn babies killed in Ireland last year when questioning the priest before Biden’s visit to Knock. 

Meanwhile, Human Life International (HLI), which has an office in Knock, this year erected more than 80 Holy Face billboards throughout Ireland ahead of the President’s visit during their annual Holy Week and Easter evangelization efforts.

HLI’s Patrick McCrystal told LifeSiteNews that the billboards were displayed in all 32 counties, with millions of people also seeing the images online as part of the organization’s All Ireland and Global Holy Face campaign.

HLI supporters organized more than 105 public prayer vigils across Ireland on Good Friday, and the First Saturday men’s Rosary is ongoing in towns around the country.

Accompanied by son Hunter, Biden left Ireland late Friday night after a four-day visit north and south of the border dividing the island.

Earlier in the day, during his brief tour of Knock, the U.S. president unexpectedly met the priest who gave the Last Rites to his deceased son, Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015.

Father Frank O’Grady, a former U.S. army chaplain now ministering in Knock, had only told a local photographer in passing of his link to Beau Biden, with the President insisting they meet when he was informed about the priest’s presence this afternoon.

O’Grady told Sky News, “He didn’t know I worked here. So when… I saw him, he was a bit emotional. The last time we met was when his son was very ill eight years ago and it all came back to him.”

Church authorities in Knock and the cathedral town of Ballina suspended public access to the Mass and confessions prior to the visit of the pro-abortion U.S. President.

Speaking anonymously to LifeSiteNews on Wednesday, one priest from County Mayo said that “welcoming a President whose policies are at odds with Catholic teaching to a Catholic Cathedral, at the end of a week where the parishioners are forbidden to access their church while a stage is erected for a speech to be delivered, is yet a further blow to the credibility of the leadership of these shepherds. It shows how complicit the clergy are in [the] moral and doctrinal confusion which abounds today.”

Noting that Biden would face Ballina’s Freemason hall when he spoke on Friday night at the cathedral, Catholic commentator Robert Nugent explained that Christ had been “kicked out” of the adjoining Adoration chapel for the week and said the event was all about Biden’s re-election.

Local ordinary Bishop John Fleming did not respond to questions from LifeSiteNews earlier this week about whether he would call on President Biden to repent for his public support of abortion and homosexual “marriage,” or whether allowing the president to use St. Muredach’s Cathedral as a backdrop for his speech risked Christ’s Church becoming a PR tool in his bid for re-election.

Biden is a vocal supporter of unlimited abortion-on-demand at taxpayers’ expense, same-sex “marriage,” and transgender ideology.

In February, Biden declared that “Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose” abortion, as LifeSiteNews reported. So dedicated to promoting abortion is Biden that his administration is promulgating rules and legal guidance allowing for abortion pills to be dispensed via the mail.

In December, Biden signed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), which federally recognizes same-sex “marriage” and forces every state to recognize any same-sex “marriage” of any other state.