The message of Garabandal was virtually unknown to the world until God hand-picked His Own messenger to spread the news far and wide. This representative of repentance was born in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York in the Bay Ridge section to an immigrant Italian family who struggled to provide for their six children. Joey's name at birth was Pasquale Lomangino. He was the oldest of five sons and an ideal role model for his younger sister. He was also an inspiration to his brothers and family, placing more importance in helping the family by working various jobs to put bread on the table than in furthering his studies or own career. His father delivered ice to the neighborhood and young Joey would lug the huge blocks into the back of the truck and accompany his father in distributing the cold necessity to so many. Always jovial and giving, Joey could see what a giving person his dad was, maybe too giving for he was barely getting by. The reason - he was practically giving the ice away for a nickle a block. Competitors were charging three to four times that much and Joey reasoned his dad should raise the price. Soon the business began to flourish and everything was cool in a manner of speaking.
But God had other plans for Joey's life and it would take years for him to realize why. One hot summer day in June 1947 Joey was helping his father when they got a flat tire on their truck. After pushing it six blocks to a gas station they began to fix the tire and pump air into the new one. All of a sudden the tire exploded, the rim hit Joe squarely in the temple crushing his forehead and leaving a three-inch fracture between his eyes. The accident severed his olfactory and optic nerves. He was rushed to a hospital where he laid in a coma for three weeks before awaking to total darkness. He was completely blinded by the mishap.
This devastating turn of events sent the family into deep despair, especially his father who, with the loss of Joey's able assistance, saw the business trickle to practically nothing. He gave it up and became a longshoreman as the family struggled while Joey struggled even moreso on why this had happened to him.
He would find out why in 1961 when, on Doctor's recommendation, he took a vacation to Europe which included a side trip to a monastery 75 miles north of where his uncle lived in Bari. Unbeknownst to Joey God had some special plans in store. It was his uncle's idea and to this day Joey is eternally grateful. They drove to San Giovanni Rotundo just in time for an early-morning Mass celebrated by Padre Pio, who Pope John Paul II beatified earlier this year on May 2nd. After Mass, the celebrated stigmatist customarily blessed all those in attendance. As he came to Joe he called him by name. This took Joey's uncle back as well as Joey since no one had told the mystic Capuchin who he was. Padre Pio touched Joey and blessed him, then continued on.
Joey returned home still confused, but the conversion process had started. He kept remembering the warmth and joy he felt when Padre Pio touched him and it played on his soul. Two years later he returned to San Giovanni Rotundo to be with his uncle. He also wanted to experience that warmth and plumb his soul further. Padre Pio gave him that opportunity when he heard his confession. Like the majority of us before our conversion, spirituality was not at the top of his list. In fact, by Joey’s own admission, he was not the model Catholic. When Joey got there he didn’t really understand what he was doing but a force kept pulling him to ask Padre Pio to hear his confession. As he knelt before the good friar, he froze but Padre Pio urged him on twice in Italian. Still Joey was hesitant. Then in perfect English Padre Pio began reading Joey’s soul, detailing names, places and situations in which Joey had fallen into sin. Joey was taken back in awe and humility. He was moved to tears and overcome with a newly found inner joy and peace. As Joey relates in Garabandal Magazine , "After he was through [with his confession] he said, 'Joey, are you sorry?' I answered 'Yes, Father, I am.' ' Then Padre Pio raised his hand in the air and said, 'I call Jesus and Mary for you.' I said, 'For me? You call Jesus and Mary for me?' He said, 'Si.' As Padre Pio gave me absolution, my eyes began to roll in my head. I started to rub my face, my head kept going around and around. I felt something was happening to me but I didn't know what it was. All of a sudden my head cleared. Then Padre Pio touched my lips, made me kiss the wound on his hand, gave me a tap on the face, and said, 'Joey, a little patience, a little courage and you're going to be all right.' I was 33 years old, but I felt like 16. I had a firm purpose of amendment. I was sorry for every sin I committed in my whole life. I felt so good and so clean I just wanted to be left alone. And ever since then, February 16, 1963, I am a daily communicant, the cross is off my shoulders and I'm free. Until this day, I don't suffer. I'm inconvenienced, but I don't suffer."
Joey didn't want to leave this sanctuary of sanctity and two days later he knelt again with around fifty others outside the cloister as Padre Pio made another appearance and blessed everyone. When he came to Joey, Joey felt an explosion within the darkness of his being. It was during his short stay there that he was able to smell anything for the first time in fourteen years. As Padre Pio blessed him, the holy priest held his blood-stained hand to Joey’s mouth for the young blind man to kiss. It was at that instant that Joey was overcome by the strong, sweet scent of roses emitting from the blood. His joy overflowed. For the first time since his debilitating accident, he was able to smell and what he smelled was the strongest scent of roses. Even though his human capacity to smell was completely destroyed, he has been able to smell accutely ever since that time. He attributes it all to the grace of God working through this living saint who touched him so. As Joey tells it, he didn’t want to leave this special place where he had gained such peace and tranquillity - yet his uncle reminded him that Garabandal was still on the itinerary and they had to get going. Fearing it might be the devil who was enticing him to Garabandal in order to lose this beautiful inner peace he now had, he wanted a confirmation that he should go to Garabandal. His confirmation came from none other that Padre Pio himself who flatly told Joey, "Yes, go, Joey. It is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is appearing there."
After that, Joey didn’t need a car or any other transportation to get to this rugged mountain village southwest of Santander, Spain. He was on cloud nine. As it turned out, in order to get to the village one had to go either on horseback or oxcart. Joey chose the latter.
It wasn't long before he found himself at Garabandal where he met with the visionaries, especially Conchita Gonzalez who could speak English. The more time he spent with her, the more he believed. As he was departing Garabandal Conchita gave him a Rosary blessed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked him to let others know what Our Lady desired. In the early days of Garabandal the visionaries were quite accessible and so Joey and the girls immediately struck a special bond that has lasted to this day. So on fire was this "Blind Apostle" that on the return to the States, he began to go out into neighboring towns and parishes to tell anyone who would listen of the wonders he had experienced and the vital message of Garabandal.
His uncle had taken numerous slides of his time with Padre Pio and the visionaries in Garabandal and so, with help, he put together a slide show and sent them to Joey. Thus the blind apostle began spreading the word, first in parishes, then establishing conferences to spread the messages Our Lady had imparted at Garabandal. His only motivation was to help Our Lady who had helped him. This led to the establishment of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal and through this ministry more came to the awareness of Garabandal. Joey made numerous trips back to Garabandal including June 18, 1965 where he was in attendance when the Blessed Mother imparted her second Message. Returning to the states he took his apostolate throughout, visiting forty states and appearing on national television as well as numerous local radio and TV programs, stumping for Our Lady. Despite his handicap he continued, branching out to where today his apostolate reaches every state, every nation of the world. This child-like man with the charismatic personality who is so full of joy and kindness has touched millions, much like Wayne Weible has done for the Medjugorje movement.
In 1967 Joey visited Fatima during a trip to Garabandal and stayed in Portugal for three weeks at the Blue Army School of Apostolic Formation. The more he studied, the more he realized Garabandal was an extension of all Mary had imparted in 1917 at the Cova in Fatima. As Joey put it, "The marvelous thing is that God keeps extending Himself in spite of our reluctance to listen. It seems that people just don't want to change their ways." Realizing the urgency of Our Lady's messages both at Fatima and now Garabandal, and the growth of centers promoting the Garabandal messages around the country through his efforts, he founded NEEDLES Magazine in 1968. The name was taken from the pine needles at Garabandal where Our Lady appeared in the Pines and promised the Miracle will be seen there in God's Time. A few years later the name of the quarterly publication was changed to GARABANDAL to avoid any confusion as circulation grew and more centers sprouted up, numbering nearly 400 today. These centers would show films, organize prayer groups and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, promote the Rosary and Scapular as well as the messages of Garabandal, alerting all of the immediacy of Mary's messages and the pending Warning and ensuing Miracle. The former will be when every person sees the state of their own souls as God sees them. Just as Padre Pio read Joey's soul, so also we'll be able to read our own and we may not be too happy with what we see, but we will be able to realize the great Mercy of God for the Warning will be, in effect, a "dress rehearsal for the Final Judgment."
There are countless stories of conversions and even healings attributed to Joey's prayers and the grace of God. He met his wife during one of the pilgrimages to Garabandal - Marilyn Luther, a 37 year-old widow. Joey knew immediately they would be married for he had been given a sign of "Luther and Michigan" and, at the time had no idea what it meant. As they were preparing to leave JFK Joey was introduced to the fifty some pilgrims, coming to a Mary Luther who introduced her daughter Marilyn from Michigan! In time Joey asked her to marry him but she hesitated, asking for more time to consider such a proposal. Back home in Michigan Marilyn had a dream in which she was in a beautiful garden where a transparent gardener tended to the blooms so that she could see right through him to all the wondrous colors in the garden. He went to one flower, a tall white lily and carefully removed it and replanted it in another place in the garden. Then he disappeared. The replanted lily in its brilliance stood out among all the color flowers and it was a sign to Marilyn that Joey was the one. She realized the lily was her for she had been married before and her husband died, but now she was to be replanted into another family. They were married on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in 1977. Now with a family and his administrative duties taking up more time, his spiritual director advised him to cut back on his traveling and public appearances, depending more on correspondence to carry on the ministry and expand it internationally.
On May 18, 1979 Joseph Michael was born to Joey and Marilyn and two years later on September 17, 1981 God gave them little John Paul. Today both sons are nearing adulthood and Marilyn and Joey continue to promote the Garabandal messages as the apostolate has grown globally. As Joey affirms, "I just can't stop. Our Lady gave me this job and each day she gives me the grace to do it."
Joey has also been promised by Our Lady that he will see the Miracle and he truly believes that time is close, very, very close. Joey has a mission that will eventually take him back to Garabandal when the great Miracle occurs. Our Lady, on the feast of her beloved chaste spouse St. Joseph in 1964, revealed to Conchita through a locution that Joey would have his vision completely restored on that great day when the Miracle is manifested. He will see it! He believes it with all his heart because late in 1947 he had a dream or a supernatural phenomenon that he has never forgotten. He heard a voice coming from the doorway to his bedroom that said, "Joey, do you want to see again?" He naturally answered "Yes." The voice said, "Then you pray. Say 17 Hail Mary's, seven Acts of Contrition, and five Our Father's three times a day." Joey queried, "When will you be back?" The voice answered, "Soon." He believes he will see someday, in God's time, because he also believes that voice was Our Lady. He also believes it was not a dream but an actual supernatural event that he cannot explain but believes with all his heart, just as he believes with all his heart the apparitions at Garabandal.
It makes perfect sense to us. Here's a man, blind for the past fifty two years, now in his early seventies who has no plans to retire or slow down. And why should he? After all, a promise is a promise and since this emissary of love kept his promise to God, then God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, will keep His promise to His special "Blind Apostle" Joey Lomangino.
The key here is the word “cross”. To Catholics “cross” is synonymous with “crucifix.” Yet, for some reason the modernist liturgical commissions interpreted the word “cross” in the protestant sense and proceeded to do all kinds of aberration in regard to artistic interpretation. Keep in mind St. Ambrose’s words: “For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?” This image is of the crucified Christ for that is the sacrifice. It should not be one of the resurrected Christ for that takes away from the image of sacrifice His ultimate sacrifice. The Resurrection is the triumph which we will share in Heaven, but we must first carry our cross here on earth as Jesus charges in numerous places in the New Testament. The crucifix is a reminder to us that we must unite ourselves with Him during the Mass and throughout our day. The “resurrecix” does not do this, but rather bypasses the suffering, speeding quickly to the glory. My Catholic Faith, an excellent compendium on the True Church and our main resource for our daily feature APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH, states that “Every altar must have a crucifix, to symbolize the cross on which Our Lord died.” We cannot achieve the glory without the cross of Christ the crucified Christ!
It is alarming how many churches sport the new-age crosses of the resurrected Christ which show no suffering or sacrifice whatsoever. More often than not, churches that display these abberant symbols are ones where the Tabernacle is obscured, altar girls were promoted before it was allowed, and, sometimes, liberal theology is the hidden agenda. No orthodox church would acquiesce to this new wave of heresy in the adornments of the altar. It’s most interesting to note an account we heard a while back when on the same Sunday in a certain city, before the entire congregation while the priests were giving the homily in two different churches, the crosses fell with a thud with no visible means of being loosened or released. They shattered in pieces without touching the altar. The two crosses in question: suffice it to say they were not crucifixes but the new modern rendition of man’s ego. Is God trying to tell us something?
We forget that the crucifix is a sign for all of veneration. We honor Christ when we pray before the crucifix. Just as we show honor to our loved ones by placing wreaths on their graves, keeping pictures of them in our homes or erecting statues to men and women of stature from the civic element, so we honor the Greatest of them all Who died on the cross for us. The fullness of that sacrifice is seen only on the crucifix, not on an empty cross or a cross showing the resurrected Christ without the suffering. We can enjoy the latter in Heaven; on earth we must embrace the suffering, the trials and tribulation just as Jesus did when He came down from Heaven and became like us in all things, except sin.
No implement is more important than the chalice and the paten. These, along with the ciborium and monstrance or ostensorium are consecrated and are to be handled with reverence. Before Vatican II only a priest, except in cases of necessity, could handle these. The Chalice is the most sacred of all because it is the cup which holds the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The wine used “must be natural wine of grape and not corrupt” (Canon 942 paragraph 2). The word chalice comes from the Latin calix meaning “cup.” The chalice represents the cup in which Our Lord first offered His Blood at the Last Supper. It also symbolizes the chalice of Passion as documented in Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:41 “Father, if Thou are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will but Thine be done.” Finally, the chalice represents the Heart of Jesus, the Font of Divine Mercy, from which flowed His Blood and Water for our redemption.
The paten is the small plate which rests on top of the chalice and on which the large host is laid. Hosts “must be made of wheat alone and recently fresh so that there is no danger of corruption” (Canon 924 paragraph 2), and “In accord with the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread in the celebration of the Eucharist whenever he offers it” (Canon 926). The word paten evolves from the Greek word patane and the Latin word patena which both mean “pan”. It is interesting that the Latin word for bread is "panis." The paten should be of the same material as the chalice. When we receive Holy Communion, our hearts become living chalices, our tongues other patens on which the priest lays Our Lord. In some churches the altar servers still hold a separate paten under the chins of communicants which was the practice before Vatican II. These have either a handle or protruding edges to hold. It is also customary at the Offertory to mentally offer all the people, all the petitions, all our toils and troubles, all our joys and life to Jesus on the paten, offered up by the Priest as we unite with Our Lord in His Passion and Death through the merits of the unbloody Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The ciborium resembles the chalice except it has a cover and holds multiple small hosts. Today, many ciboriums are like cups without stands so they can be stacked in the Tabernacle to accommodate the man small hosts.
The pyx is a small, compact circular container that will hold between one and twelve hosts and is used by the priest or Eucharistic Ministers to take Holy Communion to the sick. It, like all other sacred vessels, is specially blessed.
Though the monstrance or ostensorium is not used at Mass, the large vessel adorned and jeweled is connected with the Holy Eucharist and used for the specific purpose of Adoration and Benediction. The Sacred Host is reserved in a luna or lunette and inserted in the center of the monstrance. The priest or deacon places the Holy Consecrated Host in the luna and then in the monstrance, removing it after the closing Benediction and retiring it to the Tabernacle. In some instances the Host is left in the luna in the Tabernacle. The Host is changed at least once a month with the priest confecting a new Host at Mass and consuming the old one at the Communion.
Other items used during the Mass are the Missal or Sacramentary on the altar, containing the prayers and ceremonies of the Mass. The Lectionry is the book containing the readings of Sacred Scripture and resides at the pulpit. The cruets are small glass containers from which the server or priest pours the water and wine into the chalice and the celebrant washes his hands with the water in the Lavabo bowl. The cruets, bowl and finger towel all reside on the credence table which is meant to hold all items needed for liturgical functions.
Other articles that are sacred vessels and used during Benediction and at solemn high masses are the censor and thurible or incense boat which holds the incense, a symbol of prayer. The practice of incense dates back to Old Testament times. The censer, originated from the Latin word incensarium, is a metal bowl in which the priest places the incense on top of burning charcoal. The censer, suspended on a chain to enable swinging it, has a perforated removable cover.
One other component used during the Mass are candles. Two must be of pure wax and at a high Mass or Sunday High Mass as the case may be, at least six candles must be lit. The practice of candles dates back to the catacombs where the early Christians held candles while hearing Mass in the dark passages of the underground. Next week we will dwell somewhat on the altar linens and their significance before resuming on our voyage of the Barque of Peter in the 7th century as the Church embarks on a Holy Campaign to solidify her supremacy in bitter clashes with enemies of the Church.
Next Wednesday: Installment Twenty-two: Tools of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: part four
"There are three spirits which may govern the human heart: the spirit of the world, the spirit of evil, and the Spirit of God. There is no disharmony caused by the first two that cannot be turned into a melody of joy by the Spirit of God, which is beyond the human and the psychological. When it is recognized that nothing so splits a man as sin, then immediately it becomes clear that nothing so much harmonizes a man as the Savior."