Statue to offer comfort

Some believe that in times of war, the Virgin Mary comes to the aid of those in crisis. In response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, a statue of the Madonna will arrive today at St. Mary’s Church in Stamford to bring comfort to those in need. "She is a pilgrim for peace" said Sister Beatrice Duque of the Presentation Sisters of Staten Island, N.Y. who will arrive with the statue today. The statue is a replica of one erected in the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the Madonna is said to have appeared.

On June 24, 1981, it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared before a group of children as a symbol of peace. She is said to have appeared for seven days afterward and has since been seen by others. Stories of her appearance have made the village a site of religious pilgrimage. It is said that the Blessed Mother told the visionaries, "I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullnes and peace, you must return to God."

A statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace was erected in the spot in Medjugorje where she is said to have appeared.

The replica of Our Lady Queen of Peace was erected by the Center for Peace in Miami, created by same artisan who designed the statue in Medjugorje. The statue was brought to churches in the New York City area after the tragic events of Sept. 11.

"In times of Crisis of war, our blessed mother comes to our aid. Twenty Years ago, Our Lady appeared in Medjugorje and requested that we pray the Rosary for peace" said Sister Beatrice Duque. "It was a time when the war in Bosnia was so cruel."

Adoration of Our Lady Queen of Peace is to begin at St. Mary’s at 4 p.m. today. Those who wish to pray the rosary for peace are invited to the church at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow. Doors are open for all faiths. The statue will be at St. Mary’s until next Saturday.

The Statue will spend a week at Our Lady Star, 1200 Shippan Ave., Stamford. it will be Bridgeport and Staten Island before returning to the Center for Peace.

by: Jonathan Wills

Marian apparitions draw renewed attention

Special to The Advocate

Specialized Web sites, newsletters and magazines testify to the intense interest among Catholics in Marian apparitions in places such as Fátima in Portugal, Lourdes in France and Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now, the Vatican press office has issued a statement saying an investigation has found credible reports that the Virgin Mary appeared to three young people in Kibco, Rwanda, over several months starting on Nov. 29, 1981.

"There are more good reasons to believe it than to deny it," Rwanda’s bishop Augustine Misago said in "The Declaration of Definitive Judgment on apparitions of Kibeho," which the Vatican press officer released June 29.

Church authorities have not issued a judgment for the report apparitions at Medjugorje. One reason for this finding is that the young women appeared to anticipate the genocide in Rwanda 13 years later, saying they saw " a river of blood, people who killed one another, abandoned bodies with no one to bury them, a tree on fire, an open chasm, a monster and decapitated heads"

In 1994, the Hutu massacred thousands of Tusis who sought refuge at the Kibeho church compound where the visionaries said they saw Mary. Seven people had claimed to see the visions; the bishop found three credible: Alphonsine Mumureke and Marie Claire Mukangango, aged 17, 20 and 21 at the time. They said a dark-skinned Mary, wearing a seamless white dress and veil, appeared under the name Nyina wa Jambo, or "Mother of the Word."

The Virgin urged them to pray and repent, they said. There were also claims that Jesus appeared, starting in July 1982, but the document does not address them. The Holy See’s press office said there were "persistent perplexities"

The document says the statement should help clarify a situation that had been "ambiguous for many faithful"

It adds the Catholics are not required to recognize a Marian apparition since it is not an article of faith.

-This story was reported and written by staff members of Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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