Biden Has Tearful Meeting With Priest Who Performed Last Rites on His Son
The priest, Father Frank O’Grady, had administered the sacrament to Beau in 2015 while serving as a chaplain for the United States Army at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
While visiting the Knock Shrine in Ireland on Friday, President Joe Biden had a tearful meeting with the priest who gave his son Beau his last rites nearly eight years ago before he succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 46.
The priest, Father Frank O’Grady, had administered the sacrament to Beau in 2015 while serving as a chaplain for the United States Army at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He now works at the Knock Shrine, the site of an 1879 Marian apparition in western Ireland.
Father Richard Gibbons, the rector of the shrine, told the BBC that the meeting was “spontaneous” and “wonderful.”
“[Biden] was crying,” Father Gibbons told the BBC. “It really affected him and then we said a prayer, said a decade of the rosary for his family. He lit a candle and then he took a moment or two of [privacy] for prayer.”
The BBC reported that Father O’Grady said he was surprised to find out the president wanted to meet with him.
“I hadn’t seen him really in eight years, since Beau died,” Father O’Grady said. “His son Hunter was there too, so we had a real reunion. He certainly misses his son. He has been grieving a lot.”
Last rites, which are available to Catholics when death is imminent, include an opportunity for repentance of one’s sins through the sacrament of reconciliation and receiving the holy Eucharist for the final time if the person has the capacity to do so. It also includes a series of prayers and the sacrament of anointing of the sick.
During his visit, Father Gibbons gave Biden a tour of the shrine. The president touched the wall of the original gable, where more than a dozen villagers attest that they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist. In 2021, Pope Francis recognized the site as a eucharistic and Marian shrine.