Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima
News Story by Loci B. Lenar
Some visitors at the National Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were blest to witness the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 2008. I would estimate over a thousand faithful came to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. The Catholic Shrine is located in scenic Warren County on 674 Mountain View Road, (Asbury) Washington, NJ. The shrine has the distinction of being known as the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.
In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima, Portugal to three shepherd children and conveyed God’s message for salvation and conversion. Remarkably, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, were told by the Blessed Mother that God would provide a miracle in order to validate the apparitions and message of Fatima. Our Lady also disclosed that an era of peace would eventually be granted to the world through prayer. For additional information about the Fatima Message, please visit the website of the National Blue Army Shrine at the following link: World Apostolate of Fatima, USA
The anniversary celebration included a lovely rosary procession with display of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. A speech was given by Reverend Lawrence Joseph Schroedel while Father Andrew Apostoli spoke on the sanctity of life for the unborn. Other events included Holy Mass with Father Anthony M. Sirianni as well as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament with farewell prayers and brown scapular enrollment.
A short time after the celebration, I walked into the parking area and observed numerous people appearing in awe as they looked directly at the sun. Margie Penkala of Hopatcong, NJ, said she was “watching the sun dance and change colors.” The time was somewhere between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. Margie also took an interesting photograph of the Cross of Reconciliation. She was kind enough to supply a copy of the image.
Although not observing the solar phenomenon on this special day; I decided, however, to walk over and introduce myself to the two priests standing nearby. I recognized Father Paul Ruge and Father Frederick Otieno Nyanguf, AJ of the Blue Army Shrine. I brought the matter to their attention that visitors were witnessing the Miracle of the Sun, and gave some details on what people were observing. Both did not see any sun phenomena but agreed to look into it.
I am reminded of John 20:29, when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing.” On a personal level, I witnessed the Miracle of the Sun on September 8, 1991 in northern New Jersey. Recalling my own experience, faith does not necessitate seeing the same sign over again. However, for many people a sign from Jesus and the Blessed Mother is an affirmation of God’s love for humanity. Moreover, I have seen other signs and wonders from Our Lord Jesus Christ. For information regarding my personal testimony on the matter, please visit the following link: Miracle of the Sun: A Gift and Testimony of a Spiritual Phenomena
In order to corroborate the recent sun phenomena, I called Fran Zucchetto of The Immaculate Conception Rosary Society. She helped organize a pilgrimage to the shrine from the parishes of The Immaculate Conception and Assumption Church, both are located in Tuckahoe, NY. She was not available at the time when I called; however, her husband Vincent allowed me to speak to Tina, their 20 year old daughter. Tina Zucchetto confirmed that she attended the shrine with her sister and mother, part of a group of 30 from both churches. She said the group all observed the "sun dancing and changing colors.” She described the colors as “changing from pink to yellow and blue to green.”
Without question, the Lord provides a special grace in order for people to observe the solar event without causing eye injury. However, eye contact with the sun should be avoided otherwise.
I also contacted Betty DeFusco; she coordinated a trip to the shrine through Saint Anne Church, Fairlawn, NJ. She indicated that no one in her group noticed any solar phenomena.
However, my telephone conversation with Lina Sumanga of Our Lady of Fatima Holy Rosary Crusade confirmed that she saw a visual phenomenon. She conveyed that a group of 40 came to the shrine on October 13, 2008 from the Sacred Heart Church, Mount Holly, NJ. Lina said her entire group saw the “sun dancing or spinning while changing colors.” She also gave details about her daughter Roxanne using a cell phone camera to photograph the sun and described the subsequent image appearing as the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I followed up with a phone call to Judi Ritchie, a supervisor at the National Blue Army Shrine; she confirmed “sporadic reports” of some visitors observing a phenomena.
The following scripture is conveyed in Luke 8:16-17, “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.”
We are witnessing signs, wonders, and miracles in order for God to create a reaction in society for constructive change and hence prepare the world for an era of peace.
A press release regarding the story was submitted and circulated through Catholic Online to spread news of the miracle. I also gave a copy of the article to Father Paul Ruge, the new spiritual director at the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.
Copyright 2008 Loci B. Lenar