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There seem to be sudden rumblings on the apparition circuit, at least as far as the media are concerned.

Much of it has to do with Ireland.

Why Ireland?

A week ago, hundreds flocked to a rural shrine in Kerrytown in County Donegal after reports of a weeping statue and crosses in the night sky.

The statue "appeared to have a human a head and she turned and she looked at people," said a report. "She looked at the children who were at the front," one witness claimed. Others described it as turning blue and crying." There was no comment by the Bishop of Raphoe,  Philip Boyce.

The history of the area dates back to 1939, when a member of a local family described seeing scene as a vision of the Virgin Mary holding the infant baby Jesus. Two sisters, Mary and Theresa Ward, reported seeing a brightness before sighting the Blessed Virgin after which they alerted other members of their family.

A Dublin man named Joe Coleman said he was instructed by the Blessed Mother when he visited Medugorje last April to tell people she would manifest at the site on September 29. "Our Lady asked me to tell the priests of the church," he said. "She is calling for people to get back to praying the Rosary." He said he saw her on Apparition Hill on Good Friday.

That was the beginning of phenomena, and it reminds us of an outbreak in Ireland in the mid-1980s, when across the emerald island statues of the Virgin seemed to be coming to life. They were at roadside shrines or "grottos." Strange fogs were descending on the miniature shrines and when the fog cleared these grottos would seem to temporarily "disappear," replaced by the spectacle of a shimmering heavenly meadow with the living three-dimensional figure of the Virgin standing there instead of a statue.

At least 25 grottos were the foci of phenomena, which we traveled there to investigate.

Among them, in 1984, was the old apparitional site of Knock.

Now Knock is back in the news in the spate of alleged recent phenomena.

Not hundreds but thousands went there on October 11 and claimed to see the sun changing color and dancing in the sky.

One man, John Tunney, said it turned different colors, "then it completely darkened and began shimmering."

An optical illusion?

The joy they felt was not.

"I was there on Sunday purely by chance," said one blogger. "I laughed when i heard what was to happen, but at three o clock the clouds moved away from the sun, the sun changed from white to blue to black to red and was shimmering. No glare came from the sun and it was possible to look straight at it. it then danced bounced and rolled around in the sky for twenty minutes to a rapturous applause from forty thousand people including two scientists and that was that! I saw it with my own eyes and I believe that something big is on the cards when our Lady is appearing and making things like this happen. I know I wouldn't like to mock!"

But what to make of the fact that here also pilgrims were directed to the shrine by Coleman -- who was described by Irish papers as a healer and "clairvoyant" (perhaps their way of saying seer -- or is there an occult aspect)? And while Coleman said he was told 50,000 would be there, the number was actually more like 5,000 (some said 9,000).

One blog described Coleman as a man who "has been working with Spirit all his life and is a very honest and genuine man. Readings involve information on past present and future, this work he channels through Spirit Guides and Angels. He communicates with people who have passed from this life into the Spirit World." Another describes him as a "medium."

If that's true, of course, all the phenomena should be discerned and set aside in that light.

Some said it was because Ireland -- and the world-- are in a period of darkness. Some said it was because Ireland is ready to okay the "Lisbon Treaty" (to do with the European Union). One might also speculate on the trauma this Catholic country has faced with recent reports of clergy abuse. Or is it psychic phenomena at a time of deception?

[resources: The Final Hour]

[Michael Brown, prophetic discussions, New Jersey and Phoenix]

[Further note,taken from The Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, the Secret of Peace and Happiness by Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Columbiere, S.J.:

"We ought to conform to God's Will in all public calamities such as war, famine and pestulence, and reverence and adore His judgements with deep humility in the firm belief that, however severe they may seem, the God of infinite goodness would not send such disasters unless some great good were to result from them. Consider how many souls may be saved through tribulation which would otherwise be lost, how many persons through affliction are converted to God and die with sincere repentance for their sins. What may appear a scourge and punishment is often a sign of great grace and mercy. 

"As far as we are personally concerned, let us meditate well on this truth of our faith that the very hairs on our head are numbered and not one of them will fall except by the Will of God.  In other words, we cannot suffer the least harm unless He wills and orders it. Relying on this truth we can easily understand why we have nothing more or less to fear in times of public calamity than at any other time. God can just as easily protect us in he midst of general ruin or despair as He can deliver us from evil when all around is s Peace and content. The only thing we need to be concerned about is to gain His favor, and this is the inevitable effect of conforming our will to His. 

"Let us therefore hasten to accept from His Hand all that He sends us, and as a result of our trustful surrender He will either cause us to gain the greatest advantages from our misfortune or else spare us from them altogether."

[resources: Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence]

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