Fr. Andreu was a role model for priestly holiness and devotion. The next day, while the visionaries were conversing with Our Lady they heard the voice of Fr. Andreu. It was a confirmation to them that this good man was with Mary in Heaven. Word spread of this and devotion to Fr. Luis has spread. The capper was a message given to Conchita on July 18, 1964 in which Our Lady promised that on the day after the great Miracle at the pine grove, Fr. Andreuís body would be found incorrupt just as Saint Bernadette and Saint Theresaís are.
In most of her messages Our Lady mentions to pray for priests that they will be holy and zealous - much like Fr. Luis. Priests are vital for the life of the Church for without them there can be no Eucharist. This is the focal point of the messages - the Eucharist. Mary tells the Garabandal visionaries as well as messengers the world over, to beckon the faithful to visit her Divine Son Jesus in the tabernacle as often as possible. Along with Saint Michael, she entreats all to treat her Son with the utmost care, respect and reverence. The Garabandal visionaries carried this out to a "tee," never turning their back on Our Lord residing in the Tabernacle at the village Church. When they would leave they would back out so as not to ever turn their back on Him. Do we have this much respect? We can learn a lot from these simple acts of love and reverence.
One of these was Maria Esperanza de Bianchini of Betania, Venezuela. Maria, visionary from Betania, spent a good deal of time in Italy because her husband Geo Bianchini Gianni was from Rome. This afforded her the opportunity to visit many shrines and monasteries and thus she struck a lasting friendship and spiritual bond with Padre Pio. In fact Padre Pio prophesied about her apparitions and, just before he died, he passed on the reigns personally to Maria. Today, Maria has the stigmata and many other mystical gifts which Padre Pio was blessed with In addition, Our Ladyís apparitions to Maria convey the same message as Garabandal with a special emphasis on Reconciliation with God and one another before it is too late. Like Garabandal, the Eucharist is the focal point emphasized by God granting a Eucharistic Miracle to the Betania parish priest Father Otty Aossa Aristzabal and the faithful gathered on His Immaculate Motherís feast day December 8, 1992. Today it resides in Bishop Pio Ricardo Belloís church in Los Teques, Venezuela where it has been proclaimed a Eucharistic Miracle and Betania has been approved by the Church in the first stage.
Besides Betania, the messages of Akita in Japan, El Cajan in Ecuador, San Nicholas in Argentina, El Escorial in Spain, Damascas in Syria, Naju in Korea, Hrushiv in the Ukraine, and countless other apparitions and locutions throughout the United States, Ireland, Italy, and Canada echo the same message of warning and great hope for those who return to her Divine Son.
No apparition parallels Garabandal as much as Medjugorje in respect to the young visionary children, the terrain, the condition of the hamlet, the faith of the villagers - and most importantly, in the content of the messages - the number of which are unprecedented in the annals of Marian Apparitions. The Gospa in Medjugorje has intricately linked Fatima with Medjugorje, in her August 25th, 1991 message to the world Our Lady said: "Therefore, dear children, pray and fast more firmly - so that everything I wanted to realize through my secrets which I began at Fatima will be fulfilled."
Foretold at LaSalette and Lourdes in France with the central focus on repentance, Our Lady unveiled even more at Fatima. She revealed in 1917 that World War I wound soon end, that another way would commence even more severe, and that Russia would become a world power and propagate atheistic communism throughout the world. She also prophesied that if we prayed as she requested, especially her Rosary, and attended Holy Mass and received her Divine Son present in the Holy Eucharist reverently, Russia would be converted and there would be an era of unprecedented peace on this earth - a peace not hitherto known to man: Godís peace.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Eight - Garabandal: For whom the Bells Toll! The Warning and The Miracle!