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Is Africa the new hotspot for apparitions?

Many know about Kibeho in Rwanda, where the Blessed Mother appeared in apparitions that have Church sanction.

But there are others. In August of 2010, a church dedicated to St. Paul in Nigeria "turned into a mecca of sorts as people from all walks of life thronged the church to catch a glimpse of what has been literally described as an apparition of Jesus Christ," reported The Nigerian Observer. "The uncommon but holy phenomenon according to Catholic faithful and enthusiasts present at the church premises, came up early Wednesday morning immediately after the offering of Adoration at the church. It has however generated so much frenzy amongst catholic faithful and non-Catholics who jostled through the ever-busy Airport Road in the state capital to witness the rare spiritual occurrence. Similarly, the spiritual significance of the 'apparition of Christ' at the St. Paulís Catholic Church was further described to connote the signs of the end of time by Prince Ken Ebosele, a committed Catholic faithful who was present at the church to catch a glimpse of the 'apparition.' Prince Ebosele revealed that it was a reassurance of the fact that the salvation in Christ which Christians profess was not in vain, adding that the appearance of Christ was a manifestation of the presence of Christ in our lives. Others who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the 'apparition of Christ' at this critical period of humanís sinful existence was clear indication that no matter how neck-deep we are involved in sin, the Almighty God has special interest in the salvation of human beings."

Meanwhile, to go back a bit in time, to the mid-1990s, phenomena involving bleeding images or statues began along Africa's west coast in Benin. On April 1, 1997, a statue in the community of the Franciscan Sisters in Gebegamey wept tears of blood. Vincent Metonnou, a journalist for the weekly Le Forum, wondered why there are now so many similar "signs of sorrow" appearing all over the world: "Has the world lost the way?" he asked, concluding that the Son of Man is probably saddened by mankind's "villainy" (in the words of the newspaper).

On April 20, 2011, a bizarre video of an alleged sun miracle showed what looked like the Virgin Mary in the posture of the Miraculous Medal in light that blasted over the trees, causing loud cries from onlookers, who videoed it with cell cameras. That was in Abidjan in Africa's Ivory Coast. Many claimed it was a hoax. Others were not quite sure. (Sun phenomena do occur -- but the figure? It seemed superimposed.)

Does one have to be careful with such phenomena? Beyond a doubt. In Benin, voodoo remains the state religion. Elsewhere, there is pagan-style "animism" (spirits in objects and plants) and worship of the deceased. In the early 1990s, a nun in Kenya claimed phenomena at three a.m. that included eerie photographs of Jesus with glowing red eyes. The apparition was promoted by a former archbishop who subsequently was removed to Rome and then excommunicated when he disobeyed the Vatican, which sought to sequester him after he was married in a ceremony officiated by Reverend Sun Myung Moon. He had become famous in Rome for large and controversial "healing" and "exorcism" events. Caution -- initially, great wariness -- is thus always in order. That there can be deception is a given. Also in Africa, a cult based on a Catholic "seer" became a death cult; many committed suicided as they waited for the end of the world.

But there are also legitimate phenomena in our times and Africa is special -- producing vocations that aid the world -- and we are interested in what was claimed to be a message,  again from Benin, in 1995, where it was said a replica of the Holy Face began to shed blood that was later analyzed as type AB, RH positive and where -- allegedly, but powerfully -- the Eternal Father said in "locution":

"My children! In the horrible time that will come over the human race, the Holy Face will be very helpful (a real cloth to dry the tears); because My real children will hide behind It. The Holy Face will be a real blessing, so that the punishment that I will send over the human race will be lessened. In the home where it is exhibited will be light in order to be freed from the power of darkness. In the homes where the Holy Face of My Son is located, I will order My angels to mark them, and My children will be spared from the evils that will come over ungrateful humanity. My children become real apostles of the Holy Face and spread it all over. The more it is spread the less will be the catastrophe."

Here it was also claimed that the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus said:

"Always offer up My Most Holy Face to the Heavenly Father so that He will have mercy on you. I ask all of you that you honor My Divine Countenance and that you will give it a place of honor in your homes, so that the Heavenly Father will grace you abundantly and forgive you your sins. My dear children make sure to say every day in your homes a short prayer to the countenance of Jesus.

"Don't forget to greet it when you get up in the morning and ask His blessings when you lay down to sleep, so you will be arriving happily in the heavenly homeland. I assure you that all who have a special love for the Holy Face will be warned of dangers and catastrophes. I solemnly promise whoever distributes the devotion of My Holy Countenance will be spared of the punishments that will come over the human race. In addition, they will receive light for the days of horrible confusion that are coming towards the holy Church. Should they suffer death during the punishments, they will die as martyrs and receive holiness.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, those who spread the devotion to My Holy Face will receive the grace that no family member will be condemned and that those who are in purgatory will soon be released. But all have come to Me through the intercession of My Most Holy Mother. All the worshippers of the Divine Countenance will receive a great light to understand the mysteries of the end times and they will be very close to the Savior. All these graces they will receive as worshippers of the Holy Face. Don't lose these blessings! For it is also easy to lose them."

And so we discern. Due to this alleged revelation, we are providing a little booklet [see below] with such a devotion. It is certainly interesting, that in this time when natural disasters and strange weather extremes occur, we are granted a special means of mitigating future events, a means tied to the Most Sacred Face in all of history.

[resources: Devotion to the Holy Face and The Golden Arrow]

[see also: Jesus Appears in Nigeria]

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