The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The ending of the twentieth century has witnessed an overwhelming
number of reported appearances or apparitions of Mary, suggesting we are
entering the end times prophesied by the Book of Revelation.
Reaffirming the Tradition of the Church, both Pope Pius X in 1904
and Pope Pius XII in 1950 stated that Mary is the
"woman clothed with the sun" in Revelation 12:1.
It is important to remember that belief in apparitions is not an essential
part of being a Catholic, for it is not an article of faith. One may be
Catholic and not accept any of the apparitions. When the Church
"approves" an apparition, it
merely states that nothing is found objectionable to the faith
in a particular apparition.
While most Catholics are familiar with the approved Apparitions
of the Church such as Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima,
appearances of Mary are being reported all over the world,
such as Akita, Japan; Betania, Venezuela; Medjugorje,
Bosnia-Hercegovina; Damascus, Syria; and Naju, Korea.
The image of Mary, a silhouette of the Virgin of Guadalupe,
appeared overnight on a side of a bank building
in Clearwater, Florida in 1996, and is still there today.
While these reported appearances are still under investigation
by the Catholic Church, one cannot ignore the common themes
that have been echoed through the ages, especially now as we
enter the third millennium. This is a time for repentance,
prayer, reading Scripture, fasting, and frequent reception of
the Sacraments. It is time for us to be examples of love, mercy,
and peace, as our modern world continues to fall away from the
Ten Commandments of God.
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Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Medjugorje