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Shortly after Our Lady began appearing to Betania visionary and mystic Maria Esperanza di Bianchini on a remote farm south of Caracas in Venezuela, and a month before she appeared to six children in another remote mountain village known as Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother Mary chose a middle age mother of seven to impart her messages of Prayer, Penance and Sacrifice for the world. Like the others before and after, the Blessed Virgin chose a smaller municipality a short distance from a major city to be a magnet to attract pilgrims from al over. And like Betania and Medjugorje, these lesser-known apparitions are still taking place.
Approximately 60 kilometers (a little over 37 miles) northwest of Madrid lies the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. It has served as the focus of religious pilgrimages by people from different nationalities and cultures from throughout the world for the past fourteen years. The reason for these pilgrimages is that Jesus and His Blessed Mother had been appearing to one of the members of the community at Prado Nuevo (New Meadow), at an area of El Escorial.
The visionary, Luz Amparo Cuevas, a victim soul, had been receiving apparitions there until recently when the civil authorities decided to fence off Prado Nuevo for the expressed purpose of defying the visionary and the people who attended this event. They also constructed a major thoroughfare a very short distance from the Prado. Civil authorities even tried to burn down the beautiful Ash Tree where Our Lady appeared every first Saturday, but their efforts were futile. God would not allow it. (Similar obstruction has been recorded at Lourdes, Fatima, Garabandal, Medjugorje and many other apparition sites including Conyers, Georgia where local ordinances have been drafted to hinder pilgrims from conveniently getting to the holy hill and apparition room.)
These efforts on the part of the local government to discourage the faithful from going to Prado Nuevo have proved fruitless. Many people still meet on one side of the thoroughfare and facing the Prado recite the Rosary every Saturday afternoon as cars whiz by. As many as 1,000 gather there on a regular Saturday and then congregate in a nearby rented building secured by a group of believers which provides a forum for priests to speak as well as Amparo to convey the most recent message. She continues to receive apparitions from Our Blessed Mother on the first Saturday of each month and record the messages imparted by Our Lady at another location other than the Ash Tree which has been corded off for now by civil authorities in an effort to thwart the apparitions and influx of pilgrims. Regardless of the weather or season of the year, the multitudes, which gather there on the first Saturday each month, have been estimated near the 20,000 range. The more they are restrained, the more they come in faith.
Though Our Lady has requested a chapel be built on the site of the Apparition, the Blessed Mother understands that Amparo must first of all be obedient to the Magisterium and neither the Bishop nor the Cardinal have approved the Apparitions nor begun an investigation. Therefore, no masses are allowed on the site, but the Rosary is prayed fervently, taking an hour to say full five decades in Spanish.
On every Saturday, there are phalanxes of policemen sent to protect and guard the faithful who have gathered to pray. On the first Saturdays of each month, the force mushrooms to well over 25 police cars. The reason for all the protection is threats to pilgrims by fanatics who have threatened Amparo and her followers.
The majestic Ash Tree, which had become the centerpiece of the Apparition site was constantly adorned with flowers and candles which the faithful would bring similar to all other apparition sites. Nearby, was a water trough with an underground fountain which Our Lady assured was healing water. These are now all blockaded, but through prayer and a concentrated effort by believers to negotiate reopening it. There is a movement underway to return to the Ash Tree and, prayerfully, someday a chapel will be built just as one was built at Lourdes, LaSalette, Fatima, San Nicolas, and now being built at Betania.
Next installment: Planting the seeds of suffering: background on visionary Amparo Cuevas.
He became one of the newest of the Sacred College when the Holy Father elevated him to the rank of Prince of the Church, bestowing on him the red hat at ceremonies last year in St. Peter's Basilica when the Pope created twenty-one new cardinals on February 21, 1998. Cardinal Ambrozic is currently the Archbishop of Toronto and a member of the Curia on the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People as well as the Congregation for the Clergy. This sixty-nine year-old prelate's titular church is Saints Marcellinus and Peter.
GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because
we didn't follow Him today?
we never saw another flower bloom because
we grumbled when GOD sent the rain?
GOD didn't walk with us today because
we failed to recognize it as His day?
GOD took away the Bible tomorrow because
we would not read it today?
GOD took away His message because
we failed to listen to the messenger?
GOD didn't send His only begotten Son because
He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin.
the door of the church was closed because
we did not open the door of our heart?
GOD stopped loving and caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others?
GOD would not hear us today because
we would not listen to Him yesterday?
GOD answered our prayers the way
we answer His call to service?
GOD met our needs the way
we give Him our lives???
9. David! I told you not to play in the house with
that slingshot! Go practice your harp.
We pay good money for those lessons!
8. Abraham! Stop wandering around the countryside
and get home for supper!
7. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!
Leave those clothes outside, you smell like a dirty ol' furnace!
6. Cain! Get off your brother!
You're going to kill him some day!
5. Noah! No, you can't keep them!
I told you, don't bring home any more strays!
4. Gideon! Have you been hiding in that wine press
Look at your clothes! (Judges 6:11)
3. James and John! No more burping contests at the
dinner table, please.
People are going to call you the sons of thunder! (Mark 3:17)
2. Judas! Have you been in my purse again?!
1. Jesus! Close that door!
You think you were born in a barn?
Believe. Trust. Love and bear all for love of God, Who alone is pure Love. You have been obedient. You have done all I have directed you. Man's free will must never be forgotten. Like walls of impenetrable concrete the free will of man blocks the Divine Will. Soon that moment will come when man's will once again will be united with the Divine Will. Therefore, pray. Your journey has already borne good fruit and you must leave all to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Now, to all of my little children I say: Your faith is as weak as a flame whose light is wafted by the breath of satan. It is not high, but distorted in all directions. Thus confusion reigns in many hearts, and few have the will to be a burning flame of love.
O! Pray! Pray for the Triumph of my Immaculate Heart to come now. Pray! Pray! Pray! O! Satan gains power over you because you are stubborn and proud. Therefore, if you would persevere you must be nothing that God might be all!
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
I do solemnly tell you that in these days I, the Mother of God, still call all of my children back to God. But I weep, for the lukewarm souls are as a plague, and in so very few places can be found the bright Light of True Faith.
The world has abandoned God. They have made Him a mockery, a joke, and so proceed down the path of perdition.
All are God's children. He alone rules. All authority comes from Him, the Creator and is given unto His creatures to be used with the Wisdom and Counsel of the Holy Spirit.
In every land authority rejects God. Even in my Divine Son's Church the Light of Truth has grown dim for Satan is truly within the sanctuary.
God rejoices at a pure heart. God is all Mercy to a contrite heart. Through my Divine Son's most Holy Passion each soul can be washed clean by His Sacred Body and Blood. There is no other path to salvation!
O! How I weep for men have been cleverly deceived. The Mass is and will always be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when my Divine Son's cruel death takes place just as at the moment on Calvary. God, Who is Eternal, has no time. That which He has planned for all men - The Redemptive Act - is repeated daily where Holy Mass is said as a true Sacrifice. Where it has become a "meal", a "remembrance", a gathering of community who are there as other Christs - this is an abomination before the Throne of God.
Therefore, as you journey to the hallowed place where my Divine Son called Francis to rebuild His Church, so I, your Heavenly Mother ask each of my children to do likewise now. Do this by your humility and obedience, which makes manifest true reverence for God.
Thank you for responding to my Call!
Death of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Spanish priest and religious who worked in ransoming Christians from the infidels. For more on this saint, see TODAY'S LITURGY.
Death of Saint Andreas Corsini, Bishop of Fiesole in Italy.
Birth of Saint Joan of Arc in Domremy, France. She would go on to fight for her homeland and her faith and die for it, being burned at the stake on the false charges of heresy and witchcraft and canonized by is handed over to the court of Bishop Pierre Cauchon and charged with heresy and witchcraft because of her mystical visions she received from God. Five months later, on May 30th she would be burned at the stake and not absolved until Pope Callistus III would find her innocent in 1456 and nearly five centuries later Pope Benedict XV would canonize her in 1920.
Pope Gregory XV. in an effort to assist missionary efforts, establishes the Pontifical office of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith which today is called the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Pope Pius IX issues his 32nd encyclical Quartus supra on the Church in Armenia and the sensitivities to the Armenian rite.
Pope Pius XI publishes his 10th encyclical Mortalium animos on religious unity.
Death of Blessed Andre Bessette, religious brother. For more on this beatified Canadian, see TODAY'S LITURGY.
Pope Pius XII releases his 9th encyclical Quemadodum in pleading for the care of the world's destitute children.