Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Mary Mary Month of May

May is traditionally the month during which we Catholics give particular honor to our Blessed Mother. Our parish had a procession and crowning of the statue of Mary on Mother’s Day. We are also showing Marian videos in the parish hall on Monday and Wednesday evenings during May. Our pastor, Father Terry, asked me to preview the videos and set them up for showing at the scheduled times. I also make the popcorn.

The topic this month has centered on Marian apparitions, especially those of the twentieth century. I was familiar with Fatima, but many of the other reported apparitions were new to me. Among those were Garabandal (Spain), Betania (Venezuela), Kibeho (Africa), and Akita (Japan). Always being a bit skeptical, I wondered how many of these apparations were approved by the Church. A little Internet research proved to be very educational.

If the Church has a list of verified supernatural apparitions, I have yet to find it. Various groups have published lists, but they are not all in agreement. I found anywhere from 10 to 14 approved Marian apparitions in the twentieth century. Writing only from memory now, it seems like five or six reported apparitions are commonly listed as approved supernatural phenomena, but beyond those, lists varied. Part of the reason may be the way apparitions are classified. Studied apparitions may be classified as "not worthy of belief," "not contrary to the Faith," or "worthy of belief." They may also be termed as supernatural occurrences, that is, not of natural or demonic origin. Those compiling the various lists may be looking at numerous pastoral statements given over a period of time, which could account for some of the confusion.

From the information provided in the videos we watched, many of the apparitions contained similarities. The visionaries are often young people, children, humble and innocent. The Marian messages usually call for prayer, fasting, repentance, conversion, rejection of sin, and the more recent ones for an end to abortion. They sometimes foretell of miraculous signs and chastisement for those who do not heed God’s message. Some messages would seem to indicate these events will take place very soon. Of course, these are all private revelations and not necessarily messages to be accepted by everyone. Yet, even the unapproved apparition stories appeared quite convincing.

Our video series on apparitions was happening at the same time the Barrack Obama abortion controversy was taking place at Notre Dame. (See last month’s blog entry.) Those protesting Obama being given an honorary degree by Notre Dame staged massive prayer vigils for an end to abortion. This got me to wondering why Our Blessed Mother appears to innocent children, asking them to deliver her message, rather than appearing to the perpetrators of the sin themselves. I went to Eucharistic Adoration on the morning of Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, “suggesting” to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother that a well-timed apparition during his talk would be a really effective means of getting the President’s attention. Obviously, God has a better idea as the apparition did not happen as far as I know. Of course, even if it had, the liberal media probably would not have reported it.

A week has passed since Obama’s appearance. If Father Jenkins has experienced any reprimand for giving an honorary degree to an abortion friendly president, it has not been reported. I rather expected the controversy to subside after the ceremony with no action taken. So far, that seems to be the case. Perhaps, the Blessed Mother could pay him a visit too!