by MICHAEL OTTO
Two apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary that were claimed to have happened in New Zealand have been depicted in a recent National Geographic feature article.
GEOGRAPHIC-MAGAZINE-MARY
The magazine’s November 8 feature, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman”, by Maureen Orth, explored the worldwide phenomenon of devotion to the Mother of God.
This is in anticipation of a December 13 National Geographic Channel special, The Cult of Mary.
In the Orth feature, a graphic prepared by MiracleHunter.com showed hundreds of reported apparitions and their locations and Church status throughout the world.
On the MiracleHunter website, Michael O’Neill, a Stanford University graduate in mechanical engineering and product design, has codified every known apparition of Mary back to AD40. He recently published a book, Exploring the Miraculous.
The National Geographic article notes MiracleHunter data that of the 2000 Marian apparitions reported since the Council of Trent in the 16th century, only 28 have been approved by local bishops. And only 16 of those have been recognised by the Vatican.
NZ Catholic asked Mr O’Neill about the two New Zealand apparitions depicted in the National Geographic graphic, where they appear as two blue dots. (Blue dots mean “unconfirmed — apparitions are not supernatural, have not yet been investigated, or are under investigation”.)
Mr O’Neill replied that the two reported New Zealand apparitions happened in 1993 in Auckland and in 1995 near Taumarunui.
The 1993 apparition happened during the visit to New Zealand of Medjugorje seer Ivan Dragicevic.
According to a New Zealandia report at the time, Mr Dragicevic had a vision of Mary in St Patrick’s Cathedral, before Mass.
While this took place, hundreds of people reportedly said they saw the sun (with the shape of a host, Our Lady, the crucifix or a dove) pulsating and spinning, and changing colour.
Some people present reportedly said that some or all of the silver parts of their rosary beads had turned to gold. Mr Dragicevic also reportedly had a vision in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Palmerston North the same year. Some people’s rosary beads were again reported to have changed colour.
The New Zealandia report quoted local church authorities as saying these revelations were private ones, not public ones.
The other New Zealand apparition on Mr O’Neill’s books is claimed to have happened at Manu Ariki Marae near Taumarunui in 1995.
According to the Miracles.mcn website, the vision of a lady in white happened for nearly three hours at the marae, before slowly fading away.
The community there at the time reportedly had beliefs loosely based on Christianity, but with an emphasis on the female side of God.
Given that the New Zealand-claimed events occurred relatively close together, NZ Catholic asked Mr O’Neill how often such “clusters” of apparitions occur.
He replied: “It is quite common for there to be some mimicry involved when apparition claims arise.
“Prime examples include Lourdes, where Fr Leonard Cros, an early chronicler of the apparitions to Bernadette, identified at least 30 other girls nearby who began to make similar claims.
“In Kibeho, Rwanda (1981), the site of the most recently occurring Vatican-recognised apparitions, apparitions were claimed by a few school children, but, after time, many in the school made claims to see the Blessed Mother.
“In 1932 and 1933, two Church-approved apparitions in Belgium occurred in Banneux and Beauraing. The following year 12 of the 15 documented worldwide claims of apparitions happened in Belgium.
“A more modern mimicry phenomena has happened with the apparitions claimed by six children in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina. It has not been locals making the claims, but the the vast majority of those people in the United States who have claimed apparitions in the 1980s and 1990s have an affiliation with or have personally visited the site there.”
Given that New Zealand was undergoing significant economic and social upheaval in the early 1990s in the wake of Rogernomics and Ruth Richardson’s “Mother of All Budgets”, NZ Catholic asked Mr O’Neill about any correlation between reported apparitions and such troubled times.
He replied: “Throughout history, Marian apparitions have commonly followed times of great turmoil — war, plague and famine.
“The apparition at Knock in Ireland (positive results in two investigative commissions and visited by Pope John Paul II) is a prime example of this. The majority of the apparition cases in my book 365 Days with Mary are stories of the Virgin Mary coming at a difficult time to ease suffering and despair.”
According to the National Geographic article, to be worthy of belief and Church support, apparitions must be deemed miraculous with a high degree of certainty and in line with Church doctrine, and be found to have a positive impact.
According to a Catholic Herald (UK) story earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the Church never requires the faithful to believe in apparitions, not even those recognised by the Church.

3 COMMENTS

  1. All around the globe the trend is away from Culturally orientated religious motifs that display affection for holiness, away from belief in the afterlife, and in many cases towards, and into conflict.

    Zeitoun is an event where Mary allowed herself to be both PHOTOGRAPHED and TELEVISED.

    Abdul Gamel Nasser a known MARXIST claimed to have seen her.
    Sadly this event did not reach much of the culturally orientated Marian following, in Australia, except via a Newspaper article of one page in an Australian newspaper. The Australian church also has not really acknowledged Akita (worthy of belief- the then Cardinal Ratzinger), and it has not really undertaken a significant move towards the 8th December, and the cultus of the Rosa Mystica – there have been several weeping statues- about seventy- and in 1985, an announcement was made to the belief in its cultus by the Pope, to Fr Laux the coordinator of the Rosa Mystica movement. Again much of this does not get to Catholic homes via the usual channels (school, parish), and children miss out along with the other faithful. So much is left out of the equation…
    Meanwhile, the Secular Humanists (Richard Dawkins is a self confessed atheist) get the limelight, and gather up followers.
    Church is there for a purpose, and Mary is deeply integrated part of that plan.
    Holiness is all part of Mary, and sanctification of souls.

    The church has a duty to assist that sanctification, and encourage others to follow- this is a common theme throughout all the apparitions of Mary. When instead of the Catholic press, the Secular Press does a better job, questions arise about church, and justifiably.
    Various “laymen”, Wayne Weible for instance take a stand and promote as far as the can the cultus.
    It is worth noting too that the very night the Bolsheviks rose as one, Irish Layman, convened the first Legion of Mary meeting.
    Both events spread world wide.
    But the Legion has continued long after the Soviets lost their effectiveness.
    The New Zealand flag is a prime example of promotion of sanctification. In it and all Commonwealth flags with the union Jack show three saints. How many know these saints? Are children in schools asked to discuss each of the three? If a parishioner were asked, how many would remember?
    TV, radio, video, the social media continue to intrude. Shame evaporates, and instead shamelessness thrives. Are parents concerned about values and the loss of these?
    The words of an eminent professor of Law Notre Dame Law school, U.S., reflect the concern of many Catholics.
    -Professor Charles E. Rice: “It is a mistake to regard the assault on life and the family as an isolated phenomenon. Rather, that assault arises from the imperatives of an anti-God religion. This religion is Secular Humanism, which shares a common materialism with Marxism. According to this secular religion, one cannot affirm that man is immortal or that he has any significance greater than a chimpanzee. Secular Humanism is now the official religion of this nation”.(1977)
    It should be that Jesuits lead the way, with hope. When a Jesuit says that Gay marriage is inevitable it is not about hope. It is taking away hope. That has nothing to do with Holy Orders, which are about hope.
    Mary is about hope. She brings a hope for a life eternal. It should be that the rosary is said more in community, and that a cultus of Mary more evidenced.
    The alternative is the US styled hedonism.
    ” A Madalyn Murray O’Hair would have been powerless to remove prayer and bible study from the government schools if the Supreme court of the United States had not drunk deeply at the humanist foundation. A creche would still be part of the national and official observance of Christmas if the federal judiciary had not believed the humanist perversion of history which holds that America was founded not as a Christian state, but as a secular state.”
    Madalyn O’Hair was touted by Time magazine as the most hated woman in America and eventually came to a sad end. But the move toward abortion that began in 1966 with a motion for elective abortion at the Asilomar Conference in California is now so bad that in Australia in 50 years given the current figures on birth rates, will be a Muslim country.

    While the church dithers, the opposition gains ground.

    Mary brings hope. She brings mercy. She brings hope in her Divine Son.

    It is worth noting also, that prior to the pilgrimages to Medjugorje (predicted a whole year in advance by a Sufi mystic !!), Fr Browne OFM said he had heard in a prayer group “a word”, which was “I will send a woman”. Most regard this style as prophecy. It also shows the link between Mary devotion and Catholic charismatic renewal.

    The latter in South America was alive and well, with glossolalia superabundant (singing in tongues), hands extended from all over the stadium towards Pope Francis, kneeling beside a chair he was about to sit upon.

    This is hope, and this is mercy.

    Those who perform acts that make the job of priesthood easier become closer to Mary than they can possibly appreciate, because they then proximate as closer to the brothers of her son, the priesthood.
    And Mary blesses her own in new and beautiful ways….her patronage is so evidenced, through her attachments to ordinary people, many who see her, in an apparition, and many who are just “helped”.
    New Zealand should claim Mary, reaffirm her patronage, and abandon themselves to her intercession.
    They have nothing to lose, and much to preserve for future generations.

  2. Thank you, John. You have succinctly explained in these several paragraphs the seminal struggle of the millennia. You have the gift of elucidating this battle in a way that reveals what we now and have always faced. The confrontation between Christ and satan.

  3. I FLEW TO THIS HEAVENLY QUEEN AND MOTHER WITH THE HOLY ROSARY TO ASSIST ME THRU A TIME OF TRIAL IN MY LIFE THAT I COULD NO LONGER LIVE WITH — AND SHE BROUGHT ME SO CLOSE TO HER DIVINE SON THAT THE YEAR OF DEPRESSION AND FEAR AND LONELINESS IN THIS TRIAL SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR “OVERNIGHT.” I WAS LIFTED SO HIGH IN THEIR LOVE AND WAS STRENGTHENED TO A POINT WHERE I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO LIVE A FULL, PRODUCTIVE, AND JOYOUS (IN THEM) LIFE, UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS TRIAL AND MANY OTHERS WILL SOON PASS. GOD HAS TRULY BLESSED US WITH THIS GREAT GIFT OF A HEAVENLY MOTHER. SHE ALWAYS INTERCEDES FOR US AND CARES ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES.

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