UPDATED Church 2014
UPDATE: THE CHURCH’S POSITION ON GARABANDAL
Reprinted with kind permission of Garabandal Journal.
For many years, while never being condemned, the Garabandal events were under a dark cloud as some of the first bishops (but not all) opposed the events. But the tide started to change with Bishop Juan Antonio del
Vat Gallo (1971-1991). While he at first did not believe in the apparitions he took a more open position. In 1981, he became a believer and during his reign, he lifted the ban on priests going up to the village and allowed them
to celebrate Mass in the village church with the permission of the village pastor. The next bishop, Jose Vilaplana Blasco, was a non-believer, but left in place the positive changes made by Bishop del Val. In 2006, he was
transferred to another diocese in southern Spain and Archbishop of Oviedo, Carlos
Osoro Sierra,* was made Apostolic Administrator of Santander. The Archbishop, building on the positive measures taken by Bishop Del Val, allowed priests visiting Garabandal to celebrate Mass in the village church even if the pastor was not there (he ministered to a number of other villages and was not always in Garabandal). The Archbishop also gave visiting priests faculties to hear confessions.
In 2007, Ed Kelly from the United States, wrote to the Archbishop requesting the current status of Garabandal and received a letter from the prelate, under his own stationary and signed by him dated May 7,2007, in which he said: “I respect the apparitions and have known of authentic conversions. In light of these events, how can we not always feel the need to open our heart to our mother Mary to tell her that we need her protection, help, spirit, desire, faith, hope and love! I encourage you to continue maintaining this devotion to our Mother.”
In 2011, two 50th anniversaries were celebrated in Garabandal (1) for the first appearance of St. Michael on June 18,1961, and (2) the first vision of Our Lady on July 2,1961. The celebrations were conducted under the auspices of the Santander Diocese represented by the village pastor Fr. Rolando Cabeza (also dean of the area). During the celebrations, another ban was lifted when Fr. Cabeza, spoke of the apparitions from the pulpit, by reading the two formal Messages of Our Lady at Garabandal.
On May 6,2012, Bishop of Santander, Vicente Jimenez Zamora (2007-2014)** celebrated a Mass in Garabandal in commemoration of the completion of a restoration project of the village church. In a refreshments period after Mass he was open and most cordial with all the villagers and visitors. On May 1,2013, the Bishop again celebrated Mass in the village church of Garabandal and prior to the Mass, kissed a crucifix belonging to villager David Toribio that was kissed by the Blessed Virgin at Garabandal. We don’t know if the Bishop knew that but we suspect he did. Bishop Jimenez’s Masses in Garabandal were firsts, since no Bishop of Santander had ever said Mass in the village church from the time the apparitions began in 1961. * Archbishop Osoro is currently Archbishop of Madrid. ** His Excellency Manuel Sanchez Monge is the current Bishop of Santander.
Clockwise from upper left: crowd on July 2, 2011, for the 50th Anniversary Mass celebrating the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin on July 2,1961; Santander Bishop Vicente Jimenez Zamora processes to the altar for Mass in the Garabandal village church on May 6,2012; Bishop Jimenez with villagers Maximina Gonzalez (Conchita’s aunt), left, and Paquita Cuenca, widow of the late Serafín Gonzalez, Conchita’s oldest brother; Bishop Jimenez venerates a crucifix kissed by Our Lady at Garabandal before celebrating Mass on May 1, 2013.
the Church would endure a great “tribulation” (she named it communism”) which would entail a harrowing persecution the likes of which has never been seen before. This prophecy coincides with one made by Blessed Pius IX who said: “There will come a great sign which will fill the world with awe. But this will occur only after the triumph of a revolution during which the Church will undergo ordeals that are beyond description.”
The author of this great aggression will be Russia. Mari Loli, one of the Garabandal visionaries, said: “… Russia will unexpectedly and suddenly overrun and overwhelm a great part of the free world.” And Conchita’s Aunt Antonia heard the visionaries in ecstasy say: “If we don’t amend our ways, Russia will take over the whole world.”
At the moment when all will seem lost, God will intervene. Fr. Joseph Brennan, O.C.S., who summarized the prophetic statements made by saints, blesseds and popes in his article “Prophecy for Our Time” which appeared in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, May 1983, put it this way: “They foretell a time of unprecedented and terrible confusion and suffering unlike anything ever experienced in human history. It will affect every area of human life. Everything on earth, including the earth itself, will be shaken to its core. Many institutions will never rise again though they be very ancient. Christianity will undergo its most severe test of yet. There will be many casualties, many purifications. Such confusion will reign that it will appear that Christianity has almost vanished.
“But then, as if to fulfill what Jesus said, ‘Unless those days be shortened no flesh shall survive,’ there will be a direct Divine intervention, both amazing and terrible, that will completely reverse the course of world events. As a result of all this there will be a turning to God that will match the apostasy from God that preceded it, with the result, as Our Lady said at Fatima, that ‘a period of peace will be granted to humanity.’ This will be a peace such as the world has never known and it will endure, apparently, for a considerable period.”
The event that will be “both amazing and terrible that will reverse the course of world events” has been called at Garabandal the “Aviso” which translates roughly into English as the Warning. You can read all about it in our FOUR PACK series devoted to Garabandal’s last four things and in our FREE Special Edition.
But the dawning of a new day for the Church will be the result of the great Miracle which Conchita said will be the greatest that Jesus will have ever performed for the world. She added that the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima will be as nothing in comparison. Our FOUR PACK gives all that is known about this future miracle.
The last event in the supernatural triduum predicted at Garabandal is the Chastisement which is conditioned on how the world responds after the Warning and Miracle. See our FOUR PACK.
But why should we believe prophecies coming from events that have not yet been approved by the Church? Garabandal cannot be approved (recognized as worthy of belief) until after the Miracle. But in anticipating the wait for that to happen, Our Lady has given abundant proof of Garabandal’s authenticity through extraordinary phenomena and prophecies, some of which have already been fulfilled.
The phenomena at Garabandal so far surpassed anything that ever happened before in Marian apparitions that no comparison is possible. In the first year and a half, the miraculous became commonplace and this has been attested to by a host of credible witnesses. Their testimonies can be found in our editions that appear on the back page of this mailer (with contents on facing page). One phenomenon that happened dozens of times was the Reading of Hearts, which is an especially important proof because, as mystical theologians tell us, it is something the devil cannot do.
Of the prophecies already fulfilled (see our JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2004 edition) the statement that “Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist” from the second formal message of June 18,1965, is compelling. Who can deny that this has happened? And how could Conchita Gonzalez possibly have known it on her own?
THE TESTIMONY OF HOLY PEOPLE
Garabandal stands on its own merit, but until the Miracle happens we must use all available resources to make the case for it to augment a wider dissemination of the messages. One of those resources is the testimony of holy people. St. Pio on at least five occasions said Our Lady was appearing in Garabandal. In our SPECIAL EDITION, is the testimony of a firstclass witness, Joachim Bouflet, Ph.D., who taught history at the Sorbonne in Paris for ten years and served as a consultor for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. As a young man, he had a private encounter with Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo just a month before the saint died. His testimony is powerful.
Then there is St. Maravillas de Jesus, a Spanish Carmelite and founder of several convents, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 4, 2003. She also has testified in favor of JULY-AUGUST 2003 edition).
Blessed Mother Teresa, who believed in Garabandal, met three of the visionaries and was a personal friend of Conchita. See our full coverage in our FREE SPECIAL EDITION. Other believers in Garabandal were French stigmatists, Marthe Robin and Symphrose Chopin, and French holy man and mystic, Fr. Constant Pel. When some Frenchmen went to see Padre Pio he said to them: “Why do you come here when you have a great saint [Fr. Pel] in your own country.” Fr. Pel was present in Garabandal on June 18,1965, when Conchita received the second message of Our Lady from St. Michael the Archangel.
GARABANDAL AND THE PAPACY
There were a number of prophecies made during the Garabandal events that had to do with the papacy (see our SPECIAL EDITION) and two popes in particular, Blessed Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, encouraged the spread of the Garabandal message. It is an undeniable fact that Bl. Pope Paul VI said to Conchita: “I bless you and with me the whole Church blesses you.” With regard to St. John Paul II, German businessman Albrecht Weber (t 2014) received a letter from St. John Paul’s secretary now Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, encouraging him to spread the message of Garabandal. Accompanying the larger letter was a note, in John Paul’s own handwriting, giving his blessing and encouragement. See our SPECIAL EDITION for all the details.
While our magazine focuses primarily on Garabandal, there are also articles on Catholic spirituality and on holy persons: saints, blesseds and others which are popular with our readers.
We hope you will take advantage of our SPECIAL OFFER (see back cover) to become a subscriber at this very critical time in human history. We don’t know when the events prophesied at Garabandal will begin to unfold but if world events are any indicator, they can’t be too far off. Be informed by becoming a subscriber to GARABANDAL JOURNAL!