Sunday, March 15, 2009

FROM FATIMA TO GARABANDAL CONTINUED . . .

One day, around 1970, I returned to that Catholic Book Store, on Long Island, to look around and spotted some pamphlets on the counter. I asked the clerk "what were these?" and he said they were about Our Lady's apparitions in Spain. So I took one and wow! did that pamphlet change my life! As soon as I read the Garabandal story, I saw the connection to Fatima, especially that fact that Mary's last appearance at Fatima was as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and then she came to Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel! On the back of the pamphlet was a list of books on the apparitions, so I sent for them all. I was hooked!
At that time, I was in my own business as a cookie distributor on Long Island. I drove my truck through all the towns, big and small, selling and delivering Italian Cookies. At each of my stops, I would start telling whoever would listen about Garabandal. I was all fired up! Many people were interested in what I had to say but I don't know if it stuck in their minds after I left them.
My next stage of this journey was to find the people who put out the pamphlet. I felt drawn to them like a magnet. There was an address on it and somehow, through Our Lady, I managed to find "The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel", who were working right out of Joey Lomangino's house in Lindenhurst, Long Island. It was fascinating and I was filled with joy to be able to join these wonderful people in spreading the Messages of Our Lady! I volunteered in the mail room, sending out flyers and other materials to people all over the world who were inquiring about the apparitions. I also started helping Joey with his conferences by working the slide and movie projector, which I was very familiar with. While Joey gave his presentation and story of Padre Pio and Garabandal, I would show the slides. After the Rosary, I would show the Garabandal movie documentary. I guess that's why Our Lady wanted me there.
Those were wonderful years for me and my faith grew in leaps and bounds. I loved going on retreat with the Garabandal men who were involved and with our Spiritual Director, Bishop Lawrence Graziano, OFM [RIP+].
But things changed dramatically around 1979 when I went out of business and had some difficult personal family problems. We suffered through a loss of home and business and decided to move to Florida and start anew. That's when I basically lost contact with The Workers although I did write to them and they sent me materials to spread the Message of Garabandal in Florida too.
We did return to New York in the 80's and returned to Florida in 2002.
While living in NYC, I was accepted into the Deacon Program and after four years of formation, was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn on April 25, 1987. I served in four parishes before retiring back to Florida in 2002. I continued spreading the Messages and that's what I have been doing, especially now with the Internet and DVD's, which I have been able to give out to some parishioners here.
With God's grace, through Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I will continue this apostolate for as long as I live!
Blessings to all+
Deacon John