Bishop okays Lipa apparitions

AFTER 67 years, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Argüelles has officially declared that the Marian apparitions at a Carmelite monastery in 1948 are of “supernatural character” and “worthy of belief.”

“The events and apparition 1948, also known as the Marian phenomenon of Lipa and its aftermath even in recent times, do exhibit supernatural character and [is] worthy of belief,” Arguelles said in a four-page document released last Sept. 12,  the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

It was the second time the Archdiocese of Lipa issued a formal declaration about the supposed apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Carmelite postulant Teresita Castillo in 1948. The first ecclesiastical approval was issued in 2009.

The apparitions have been the subject of controversy. An initial investigation report in 1951 was signed by six Roman Catholic bishops and declared the Lipa apparitions as “non-supernatural.” However, one bishop later recanted on his deathbed, and a new investigation was opened in 1991.

Castillo, who was forced to leave the Carmelite convent, reported that the episode began on Sept. 12, 1948 when she saw a garden vine shake although there was no wind at all.

She then heard a woman’s voice saying: “Fear not my child. Kiss the ground. Whatever I tell you to do, you must do. For fifteen consecutive days, come to visit me here in this spot. Eat some grass, my child.”

The next day, Sept. 13, Castillo returned to the same spot and first saw a beautiful lady holding a rosary.

On Sept. 14, a mysterious shower of rose petals occurred at the same place and was also witnessed by other nuns, sparking an investigation that would lead to the persecution of Castillo and other personalities, including then auxiliary bishop Alfredo Obviar, who is now a candidate for sainthood.

In her last apparition to Castillo, the Blessed Virgin identified herself as the “Mediatrix of All Grace” and many believers have reported conversions and healing.

In his decree, Argüelles said the country can depend on the intercession of the Mediatrix of All Grace for it to have a “true and lasting transformation” politically, socially, economically, and spiritually.

“Whereas, the Philippines, called to be the humble instrument and eager companion of the star of third millennium evangelization, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, needs her to combat all kinds of corruption, eradicate all kinds of addictions, erase all forms of self-centeredness, oppose the culture of greed,” he said.

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