From Carlisle Sunday Sentinel 9/21/2014
The celtic cross above Brigadier General William Thompson’s gave site in the Old Graveyard, Carlisle.

Object: Celtic cross

Jason Malmont / The Sentinel
Jason Malmont / The Sentinel

What it represents: Cumberland County settlement by Scots-Irish immigrants around 1730

CARLISLE — The Celtic cross — a cross over a circle — has deep roots in Ireland and is prominently displayed on Brigadier Gen. William Thompson’s grave at the Old Graveyard in Carlisle.

The cross, which is believed to have been created by St. Patrick, has been dated as far back as 5000 BC.

Thompson was born in Ireland in 1736 and emigrated to Pennsylvania. During the French and Indian War, he served as a captain of a troop of mounted militia. He was also named the first colonel of the “Army of the United Colonies” during the Revolutionary War.

The Scots-Irish immigrants are some of the original settlers of Cumberland County. One of those was William Irvine, who represented Cumberland County in the U.S. Congress and commanded the Pennsylvania troops George Washington ton had mustered in Carlisle for the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. Later, Irvine became one of nine charter trustees of a school in Carlisle that became Dickinson College.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians was formed in the 19th century at a time when there was widespread prejudice towards Irish Catholics. To this day, the organization advocates religious tolerance as its members work to preserve Irish heritage.

Closer to home, the Carlisle-based chapter of the Order split from a chapter based in New Cumberland in 1999 and quickly took Thompson’s name.

During the Revolutionary War, Thompson formed a unit of riflemen made up primarily of Irishmen from the Midstate, who became known as “The Irish Line,” and it is said that the shot that ended the war was fired by one of the Pennsylvania riflemen.

Every September, members of the local AOH chapter gather at his grave to pay homage to their namesake and his contributions to history.

A Tribute to Thompson

Jason Malmont/The Sentinel Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Gen. William Thompson Division, honor the fallen general at his gravesite Wednesday evening at the Old Graveyard, Carlisle. From left to right, Sean Kane, Bill Irwin, Jim Jones, and Ed Gallagher.
Jason Malmont/The Sentinel
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Gen. William Thompson Division, honor the fallen general at his gravesite Wednesday evening at the Old Graveyard, Carlisle. From left to right, Sean Kane, Bill Irwin, Jim Jones, and Ed Gallagher.

Prayers to Our Lady of Knock


Sé do bheath’ a Mhuire, atá lán de ghrásta, tá an Tiarna leat.
Is beannaithe thú idir mná agus is beannaithe toradh do bhruinne losa.
A Naomh Mhuire, a mháthair Dé, guí orainn na peacaithe, anois is ar uair ar mbás.

Eleventh Century Irish Litany of Mary

Great Mary,
Greatest of Marys,
Greatest of Women,
Mother of Eternal Glory,
Mother of the Golden Light,
Honor of the Sky,
Temple of the Divinity,
Fountain of the Gardens,
Serence as the Moon,
Bright as the Sun,
Garden Enclosed,
Temple of the Living God,
Light of Nazareth,
Beauty of the World,
Queen of Life,
Ladder of Heaven,
Mother of God.

Pray for us.

Our Lady of Knock-a brief account


From Catholic

On the evening of August 21, 1879 Mary McLoughlin, the housekeeper to the parish priest of Knock, County Mayo, ireland, was astonished to see the outside south wall of the church bathed in a mysterious light; there were three figures standing in front of the wall, which she mistook for replacements of the stone figures destroyed in a storm. She rushed through the rain to her friend Margaret Byrne’s house.

After a half hour Mary decided to leave and Margaret’s sister Mary agreed to walk home with her. As they passed the church they saw and amazing vision very clearly: Standing out from the gable and to the west of it appeared the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. The figure of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, while the others seemed to be neither as large nor as tall. They stood a little away from the gable wall about two feet from the ground. The Virgin was erect with her eyes toward Heaven, and she was wearing a large white cloak hanging in full folds; on her head was a large crown.

Mary Byrne ran to tell her family while Mary McLoughlin gazed at the apparition. Soon a crowd gathered and all saw the apparition. The parish priest, Archdeacon Cavanaugh, did not come out, however, and his absence was a disappointment to the devout villagers. Among the witnesses were Patrick Hill and John Curry. As Patrick later described the scene: ‘The figures were fully rounded, as if they had a body and life. They did not speak but, as we drew near, they retreated a little towards the wall.’ Patrick reported that he got close enough to make out the words in the book held by the figure of St. John.

An old woman named Bridget trench drew closer to embrace the feet of the Virgin, but the figure seemed always beyond reach. Others out in the fields and some distance away saw a strange light around the church. The vision lasted for about three hours and then faded.

The next day a group of villagers went to see the priest, who accepted the their report as genuine; he wrote to the diocesan Bishop of Tuam; then the Church set up a commission to interview a number of the people claiming to witness the apparition. The diocesan hierarchy was not convinced, and some members of the commission ridiculed the visionaries, alleging they were victims of a hoax perpetrated by the local Protestant constable! But the ordinary people were not so skeptical, and the first pilgrimages to knock began in 1880. Two years later Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto made a visit to the parish and claimed he had been healed by the Virgin of Knock.

In due course many of the witnesses died. But Mary Byrne married, raised six children, living her entire life in Knock. When interviewed again in 1936 at the age of eighty-six, her account did not vary from the first report she gave in 1879.

The village of Knock was transformed by the thousands who came to commemorate the vision and to ask for healing for others and themselves. The local church was too small to accommodate the crowds. In 1976 a new church, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, was erected. It holds more than two thousand and needs to, for each year more than a half million visitors arrive to pay their respects to the Blessed Virgin.

The Church approved the the apparition in 1971 as being quite probable The Shrine at Knock is opened year round. In 1994 three life-sized statues were erected of Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John.