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Carlos Caso-Rosendi

“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a town in the hill country of Judea.” (Luke 1:39)

This is the first of a series of articles about the apparitions of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Garabandal. Notice I did not use the word “alleged” nor I will use it at all during this series. Why look into the Apparitions at Garabandal? Are not those apparitions still lacking the approval of the Catholic Church after decades? There are many that dismissed those events as a fraud that has produced some false predictions. Is that true?

I do remember talking to an priest about twenty years ago. I was quite young in the faith and I looked up to that priest for guidance. When a free copy of Garabandal Magazine came in the mail, I mentioned the matter to him and he cut me short: “Have nothing to do with that. Those apparitions cannot be true and have not been approved by the Church.” Later, I saw a program or two on EWTN about Garabandal, and I heard Mother Angelica mention it. I did not know what to think but I decided to investigate. That was the beginning of my long interest in Garabandal.

Things have changed a lot since the days I asked that priest. He turned out to be part of the output of a Seminary supported by Theodore McCarrick. Eventually I learned he had friends in the infamous Lavender Mafia. I pray he converts one day. He continues to be a priest. But, why that strong rejection of Garabandal? I think I know the answer. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared at Garabandal to begin a mission similar to Elijah’s mission at the ancient Mount Carmel. You may remember the contest with the false priests of Baal and the conversion of Israel, the battle after the storm that ended the seven years of drought, and more. (See 1 Kings chapter 18)

While the II Vatican Council was taking place in Rome, Our Lady was catechizing the good simple people of Garabandal. That reminded me of the ten-year stay of Our Lady with the poor jibaritos of  Puerto Rico where she also appeared on a mountain as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, catechizing the humble inhabitants as well.

The Garabandal apparitions took place during a year when the Roman Pontiff and Curia decided not to divulge the Third Secret of Fatima. During 1961-1965 there are no reports of any other Marian apparitions anywhere in the world.

One thing Our Lady did in Garabandal was to call everyone’s attention to the abuses of those who mistreated the Body of Christ both in the Holy Eucharist and also in those faithful who are part of His Catholic Church who are also His Mystical Body. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6 when he said:

“Anyone causing one of these little ones –those who believe in me– to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Our Mother gave the visionaries of Garabandal a simple but strong word. The first message of Garabandal in 1961 was a call to penance and repentance. Just like her Son, she called us to “repent and believe in the Good News.” Her warning contained another reminder of the “Eucharist to which less and less importance is being given.” And yet, Garabandal was never approved. Instead, all kinds of disrespect of the Eucharist became commonplace. But along with that, Our Mother directed a stern message to the leaders and the clergy of the Church:

Many Cardinals, Bishops and priests are following the road to perdition, and with them they are taking many more souls. Ever less importance is being given to the Holy Eucharist. We should turn the wrath of God away from us by our own efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with a sincere heart.

In the early 1960’s, the idea that Cardinals, Bishops, and priests were leading souls to perdition was quite unthinkable. More so in the ultra-traditional Spain of Francisco Franco where the Church had been a bulwark in the long fight against Communism. The words of the Virgin of Carmel were rejected strongly and immediately. The prelates and specialists sent to verify the apparitions did not even bother to check any of the more than 2,000 visits of Our Lady and the associated miracles counting in the thousands. The warning of Our Lady was ignored.

Now we know much better. We know very well that Our Lady was telling the Garabandal seers the truth. Why did she decide to break the sad news to the Church in a remote Spanish village? I imagine that Our Lady wanted to contrast the pious simplicity of the people of Garabandal, and the purity and innocence of those four little girls with the vicious invasion of infiltrated degenerates that had gained control of the Church early in that decade.

Our Lady placed a marker in history when she uttered that warning. Seven decades later, we know she was telling the truth. Most importantly we can tell the approximate moment in which the infiltration forces gained enough control within the Church to manipulate the information naturally flowing through it. In fact, they made an extraordinary effort to silence the voice of Our Lady. Remember the decision not to reveal the Third Secret of Fatima only a year earlier; and the request to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart that remains ignored even to this day.

Our Lady came to Garabandal to reveal the fruits of disobedience among the clergy.

Keep in mind these scriptures

“Theirs is a God of mountains.”  (1 Kings 20:23)

“So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains …” (Matthew 24:15)

“Son of man, prophesy concerning the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to the shepherds: Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, that fed themselves: should not the flocks be fed by the shepherds? You ate the milk, and you clothed yourselves with the wool, and you killed that which was fat: but my flock you did not feed. The weak you have not strengthened, and that which was sick you have not healed, that which was broken you have not bound up, and that which was driven away you have not brought again, neither have you sought that which was lost: but you ruled over them with rigor, and with a high hand. And my sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd: and they became the prey of all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep have wandered in every mountain, and in every high hill: and my flocks were scattered upon the face of the earth, and there was none that sought them, there was none, I say, that sought them.” (Ezekiel 34:2-6)

“So she set out, and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Look, there is the Shunammite woman …” (2 Kings 4:25)

The Mystery

Our Lady of Mount Carmel came to Garabandal on Sunday, July 18, 1961 to gently teach the Catholic faith to the inhabitants of that small mountain village. The date may be significant. It was the 91st anniversary of the declaration of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility by the First Vatican Council.

The date of the first apparition also coincides with the fourth day of the fourth month of 5721 in the Hebrew calendar, (4th of Chodesh Tammuz, 5721) while the day of the first apparition of Our Lady to the seers coincides with the 17th day of Tammuz. That is the anniversary of both the Babylonians entering Jerusalem (588 B.C.) and the Romans breaking through the walls in 70 A.D. If that is not enough coincidence, it was a 17th of Tammuz when Aaron led the Hebrews in worshiping the Golden Calf. The date is a sad and ominous reminder of both the sin of unfaithfulness and its consequences.

The number four appears in many ways during the apparitions of Garabandal. No one has been able to determine with certainty what connection, if any, exists between that number and the message of the visions of Garabandal.

During a period of  four years until November 13, 1965, Our Lady taught the whole of the Catholic faith to villagers. She conveyed that instruction through four girls, not related to each other in spite of some of them having the same last name: Conchita González (age 12), Jacinta González (age 12), Mariloli Mazón (age 12), and Maricruz González (age 11) all of them residents of the village that was founded by four original families: González, Cuenca, Cosío and Mazón.

We shall see later on how their names connect Garabandal to other Marian apparitions. Also, keep in mind the number four appears often throughout the apparitions. In my opinion, Garabandal is part of a series of private revelations and it has to be understood in that context. A tentative list could be:

  • 1531 Tepeyac, Mexico
  • 1824 Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick. Vision about the rise of the False Church
  • 1846 La Salette, France
  • 1858 Lourdes, France
  • 1884 Rome, auditory revelation to Pope Leo XIII exactly 33 years before Fatima, 77 years before Garabandal
  • 1899-1909 Santa Montaña, Puerto Rico (*)
  • 1917 Fatima, Portugal
  • 1934 Plock, Poland where Jesus appears to Sr Faustina Kowalska
  • 1961-1965 Garabandal, Spain (*)
  • 1973 Akita, Japan
  • 1976 Betania, Venezuela

[ * not yet officially approved by the Catholic Church]

The Garabandal apparitions took place during a year when the Roman Pontiff and Curia decided not to divulge the Third Secret of Fatima. During 1961-1965 there are no reports of any other Marian apparitions anywhere in the world.

The message in all the apparitions listed is basically the same and it coincides with the Gospel: “Repent and believe” and not much else. La Salette speaks strongly about corruption in the clergy: “priests have become cesspools of impurity” etc. So, those who hear the message of Garabandal about clergy corruption should not be surprised. It is not new, it is well over 100 years old. The apparitions of Garabandal not only show that Our Lady knew about the scandalous conduct of priests in 1961 –at a time when such things were unthinkable for most Catholics— but also shows that the unfaithful were powerful enough to control local Church investigations. Such control extended even to the point of using false testimony to disparage any attempt to expose their bad deeds.

There are many minor apparitions (if those things can be called minor) that could be inserted in between the elements of our list to gain some extra insights. This is a matter that deserves a profound analysis. We need to discern what items they may share in common that can be useful to develop a composition of the general message and its relation to the history of the Church for the last two centuries.

The visit of Our Lady to Garabandal included but was not limited to catechetical formation. Allow me to stress that while the Virgin Mary visited Garabandal, the Second Vatican Council was convened on October 11, 1961 closing on December 12, 1965 less than a month after the last Garabandal apparition of Our Lady.

A mountain village

It was 1961, the place: San Sebastián de Garabandal, a little town of 300 inhabitants up the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. The tiny village had at the time about 80 houses made of stone, no running water, no indoor plumbing, no bathrooms.  Garabandal was completely isolated from the other towns in that region. One uneven rocky road built by lumberjacks in ancient times, was the only way to reach the place either by foot or on horseback.  Electricity had recently appeared in Garabandal. A local generator provided electric power for a few hours at night. No cars, no engines, no television sets distracted the simple life of that village almost miraculously suspended in time. Life in Garabandal around 1961 was almost as simple as it had been in the Middle Ages.

Raising cattle was the town’s business, in a sort of cooperative effort pretty much the way it was four or five centuries ago. During the summer, the animals are taken to graze high up on the side of the mountain while entire families participate in gathering and storing grass saved to feed the cattle during the long winter season.

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From left to right: Jacinta, Conchita, Mariloli, Maricruz.

Before the apparitions, Garabandal was the poorest and most devout Catholic village in the region. An older woman walked up the few streets of town daily sounding a bell to remind everyone that they should take that time to pray for the dead. Since Our Lady of Mount Carmel is well known for liberating souls from Purgatory, it is perhaps this pious custom what called her attention to Garabandal! During the evening, everyone gathered in the local church to pray the Holy Rosary and the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On weekends, a priest used to climb up the mountain on horseback from the nearby town of Cosío, located down the mountain slopes to say Mass and hear confessions.

Perched high up the mountain, this simple Cantabrian hamlet survived almost untouched for centuries with very little change. It would have remained just like that but one day, everything changed when Our Lady of Mount Carmel decided to pay them a visit.

Objections

Over the years, many objections were raised in a vain effort to prove that the visions of Garabandal were a fraud. None of them succeeded but some took a life of their own. All of them fail when subjected to a careful analysis.

Joe Lomangino’s Eyes

Joey Lomangino was a businessman who lost his eyesight and olfactory sense due to a tragic freak accident while operating a machine at a tire shop in New Jersey. In time he made a number of trips to Europe where he met Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (now St. Pio of Pietrelcina) who miraculously restored his olfactory sense and returned him to the graces of a sincere Catholic life. Joey pilgrimaged to Garabandal in the early days and became convinced of the truth of the Apparitions. Returning to the States, Joey successfully developed an apostolate dedicated to spread the message of Garabandal.

Our Lady, through Conchita González, announced that Joey “will see the Miracle with new eyes”. Since Joe died in 2014, many have concluded that was a false prediction. And yet, we do not know what is in the future for those of mankind who have died recently. Only God knows. Joey may be part of the first people resurrected, or may be lifted from Purgatory on the day of the Miracle, etc. Angels and saints have eyes. We men of flesh and bones are not the only ones who have eyes. So… what Our Lady promised still stands even more so now that Joey has departed from us.

Fr. Andreu’s Incorrupt Body

«There were not only four, but five seers in Garabandal, and note that the fifth was a priest, Fr. Luis María Andreu Rodamilans, S.J. And he not only saw Our Lady, but had the privilege of seeing what the four girls never saw, a preview of the Great Miracle announced by the prophecies in Garabandal.

On August 8, 1961, Fr. Luis Andreu went up to Garabandal with a group of friends. It was his second visit to town. That afternoon, the seers began an ecstatic march, the first of many that would follow during the apparition period. It was a fairly long march, which ended in the pines; Father Luis was in the group that followed the girls. Subsequently, Conchita recorded the events of the day in her diary, as follows:

“It was already dark when the Virgin appeared to us. At the end of the rosary, the four of us fell into ecstasy and began a march towards the pines. When we got there, Father Luis María, who had followed us, exclaimed ¡Miracle, miracle! While looking up. We saw Him, even though in our ecstasy we never see anyone except the Blessed Virgin. But we did see him, and then the Virgin told us that at that moment he was seeing the Miracle. ”

In their ecstasy, the girls saw the priest kneeling and it seemed to Conchita that Our Lady was looking at him and saying “Soon you will be with me.”

Father Luis left Garabandal by car with his friends that same night. On the way they stopped at Cosio, where they introduced him to the priest of the parish, Fr. Valentín Marichalar. Father Luis said to him:

“Don Valentin, what these girls say is true, but I beg you not to repeat this, because the Church can never be too prudent in this kind of events.”

The priest immediately wrote down that memorable observation. Continuing the journey with Rafael Fontaneda and his family, Fr. Luis continued to show great joy throughout the trip, exclaiming:

“What happiness! What a gift the Blessed Virgin has given me tonight! How fortunate we are to have a mother like her in heaven! There is no reason to fear supernatural life. The girls have given us an example of how to deal with the Blessed Virgin. I have no doubt that all is true when it comes to these girls. Why did she choose us? This is the happiest day of my life. ”

When they were crossing the town of Reinosa, Fr. Luis, who was sitting next to the driver, repeated those words, raised his head and was silent. Fontaneda, who was sitting in the back, asked him if he felt well, to which he replied yes, but that he was sleepy. Then he leaned his head on his chest, gave a slight cough, and expired. He had no pain, no agony, but passed from this life to the next with a smile on his lips.» (Quoted from Profecía, GARABANDAL.US)

Our Lady also predicted that, in the day of the Miracle, Fr. Andreu’s body will be found incorrupt. However, he was exhumed years ago and found to be in skeletal state, only bones remained. If you remember the Old Testament miracle of the pit found in 2 Kings 13:21 tells us:

“So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”

God can regenerate the flesh in anyone, even the dead. Those who out of morbid curiosity hasted the exhumation of Fr. Andreu did not prove anything at all. See also Ezekiel chapter 37, the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.

The Four Popes

Conchita conveyed a prediction by Our Lady that after John XXIII’s death there were three Popes to come until “the time of the end” but she mentioned that she was not counting one Pope who would reign a very short time. That turned out to be John Paul I, Albino Luciani, who reigned only 33 days.

Besides being correct about the short reign of John Paul I, Our Lady will also be right this time. Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI are four Popes. Benedict is still alive as I write this article.  One could argue that many cast doubts about the legitimacy of Francis. However, Blessed Anna Catherine Emmerich predicted an era of two Popes on May 13, 1820. Here is an excerpt taken from JESUSMARIASITE.ORG

“I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…”

“Then the vision seemed to extend on every side. Whole Catholic communities were being oppressed, harassed, confined, and deprived of their freedom. I saw many churches closed down, great miseries everywhere, wars and bloodshed. A wild and ignorant mob took violent action. But it did not last long…”

“Once more I saw that the Church of Peter was undermined by a plan evolved by the secret sect [Freemasons], while storms were damaging it. But I saw also that help was coming when distress had reached its peak. I saw again the Blessed Virgin ascend on the Church and spread her mantle [over it].”

Our Lady also communicated to Sr. Lucia of Fatima that she would live long enough to see the time of the end. Sr. Lucia died February 13, 2005 only weeks before Pope John Paul II passed away (April 2, 2005). At the time Sr. Lucia died and presumably saw the beginning of the end 15 years ago, two Popes were gone (Paul VI, and John Paul I) one was reigning (John Paul II) and one was perfectly alive and well on his way to become the fourth Pope in the series (Ratzinger/Benedict XVI) The phrase in Spanish does not mean specifically that the end times would begin when the fourth Pope arrives but that there were four Popes left until (in the indefinite) the beginning of the end times.

If the end began (as promised) during the life of Sr Lucia, then all the Popes remaining were alive: John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Therefore, the prediction still holds to this day. I am quite sure that many of you agree with me that we are living at the end of our age. Just watch the world news if you have any doubts.

Veritas Semper Praevalebunt

The truth is that Garabandal has aged very well in spite of all kinds of attempts at discrediting it. Now, we know that Our Lady was right in alerting the faithful to the corruption and impurity of the clergy. She was merely repeating the revelation of La Salette (1846) when she said that “priests have become cesspools of impurity”. Nothing new there. Nothing we (sadly) cannot confirm today. It may have sounded incredible in 1963 but it is perfectly understandable in our day.


Soon to come …

The following articles in this series will explain various aspects of the events of Garabandal. Thank you for your patience while I work putting together all that I have researched about this important apparition of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


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