Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I was asked in a private email, ‘was Joey assured he will get his eye sight back?’:

From
Glenn Hudson 
I was asked in a private email ,was Joey assured he will get his eye sight back. Here is the proof, A letter from Conchita to Joey Lomangino : St. Joseph’s Day 1964:My Dear Joseph,
Just two lines to tell you the message which the Blessed Virgin gave me for you today at the pines…she told me that the voice you heard was hers and that you shall see on the very day of the Miracle. She also told me that the House of Charity you will establish in New York will bring great glory to God.

 My Tribute to Joey Lomangino, my dear friend and mentor, who taught me everything I needed to know about Mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal! 
Thank you, Joey!
May you get those ‘New Eyes’ soon for the Glory of God!
Deacon John Giglio



Dear Joey : Today at the pines in a locution the Blessed Virgin told me to tell you, you will receive new eyes on the day of the Great Miracle ….
Joey Lomangino, who has dedicated his life to spreading the Message of Garabandal, is totally and incurably blind. But, through the above quote from a letter from the Garabandal visionary Conchita Gonzalez, Joey has the assurance that he will one day see. Conchita also quoted the Virgin as saying: "The first thing he (Joey) shall see will be the miracle which my Son will perform through my intercession, and from that time on he will see permanently." Conchita has further explained that her understanding of the Virgin's term, "new eyes," as we know them - not necessarily spiritual vision - and that Joey's new eyes "are to be used for the glory of God."
So it appears that God has willed to associate this blind man from Lindenhurst, New York, publicly with the Garabandal event. Since 1963, Joey has traveled throughout the world preaching prayer, penance, and faith in God. Through his former slide-talk presentations, radio and television appearances, and the continually mushrooming apostolic activity he inspires, many millions of people have heard the Message of Garabandal.
But what makes Joey run? You may wonder: What's in it for him? Affluent businessman having a fling? Blind man grasping for power? The prophecy about his eyes - is that what moves him along at such a pace? Or has he, as those who know him well believe, really been touched in a very special way by grace? This is Joey's story.
Up Hill from the start
He grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, the eldest of five sons and a daughter born to a hardworking but low income Italian-American family. Pasquale (called Charlie) Lomangino, ailing most of the time and by nature retiring and artless, had about 300 customers on his ice and coal route and he just barely eked out a living. It wasn't until Charlie's sons were old enough to pitch in that the business began to provide adequately for the growing family.
Charlie's first born was the apple of his eye, a devoted, considerate boy, a good boy. In school, Joey was an average student, mild and likeable. But he never pushed for grades or cultivated friendships. His interests were in the after school jobs that helped make money for the family. At 10 years old he was already a big help to his dad on the route. At 12, he persuaded his father to up the price of ice from 5 cents to 15 cents, as competitors had done years earlier. Buoyed by Joey's strong young shoulders and the business astuteness that was natural to him, the Lomangino enterprise began to thrive. By the time Joey was 16, the family was modestly comfortable and the future appeared bright.
 




Joey's parents, Pasquale (Charlie) and Sabbata (Sophie) Lomangino are Italian. Sophie is originally from Bari, Italy; Charlie was born in Manhattan, New York. Their first son, Joseph, shown on his mothers lap was born on October 5, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York.
One of the few photos available of Joey with eyes, taken in 1944 when he was 14 years of age
 Then, one hot June day in 1947, fate struck a blow that crushed the family's hopes. Finishing up at school, Joey raced home to change his clothes and be off to meet his dad on the route. Joey was to drive the old three-ton coal truck to his dad but first, he noted the left rear tire had to have air. He rolled the tire six blocks to a gas station on 86th and Bay 7th. "I had both knees on top of the tire," remembers Joey. "I was checking the air pressure and looking down at the tire." Around the block Charlie Lomangino heard an explosion but paid little mind as he went about his work. Today, a small deep scar like a line on a map, shows where the rim hit Joey when it burst free from the tire. The bones of his lower forehead had been crushed and a three-inch fracture between the eyes severed his olfactory and optic nerves. He lay in a coma for three weeks before waking on July 16th to the darkness he's known ever since.
The accident flung the family into poverty. Charlie's nerves, never good, were now shattered. There was no more ice and coal business. In time, he got a longshoreman job at the docks and averaged $1,200 a year income. The family lived on this, the small income they realized from the rented apartment in their home, odd jobs Charlie's young sons could hustle, and the charity of neighbours. Joey remembers those days - actually seven long years - of destitution vividly. Searching for a word that is not like "bitter" or "angry," Joey recalls that he was sorrowful. "It was a great sadness. I felt as though I had been reaching for something (financial security for his family), was just about to get it, and then suddenly it was whisked away. I was just sad - like I'd lost something. I was confused, sorrowful."
Religion was not a comfort to him. Recalls Joey; "I wasn't sold on God because I didn't understand why people suffered. My parents were good people and they suffered a lot. This was a sad mystery I accepted without anger but without trying to understand either."
In 1949, Fr. Alfred Varrialle, of St. Bernadette's parish in Brooklyn, took Joey by the arm to the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. In three years Joey earned a high school diploma as an honour student and a scholarship to St. John's University.
Pilgrimages for the handicapped to the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, Canada (Joey with sighted friend in 1949) were later to inspire the young, blind man to try to establish St. Ann's Home for the Abandoned-Afflicted. But, he was destined to establish a different type of "House of Charity."
 With Dagmar, his seeing-eye dog at his side, Joey went to St. John's for one year. Then, in 1954, the family's fortunes changed. David R. Fiderman, a Brooklyn businessman, loaned Joey the money to take over a defunct sanitation business based in Farmingdale, Long Island. Joey made the business pay and, within a year, he and his brothers had cancelled his debt to Fiderman. The business became Allied Sanitation Co., owned and operated by a blind man and his three brothers.
"And away he went" Appearing on the Jackie Gleason Show in 1953 (with fellow Guildmember Ann Archer, left) to help raise funds for the Catholic Guild for the Blind, Joey put his seeing-eye dog, Dagmar, through her paces to the delight of the national TV audience.
 Lights of Understanding
 In 1961 Joey Lomangino was 31, financially successful, and much overworked. On doctor's orders, he took a vacation trip to Europe. He couldn't know as he boarded the plane on that crisp, brilliant morning that he was taking the most important step of his life. Indeed, he was going to begin to find life, the meaning of it, past, present and future.
Joey remembers how he balked - he just wasn't interested - when his uncle in Bari, Italy suggested a drive 75 miles north to San Giovanni Rotondo, in Foggia. "Joey, you come eh? He is the pride of all Italy. Come see our saintly priest." Insistence winning out, the two men made the trip, arriving in time for the 5 a.m. Mass celebrated by the famous stigmated priest , Padre Pio. After Mass, Joey knelt with hundreds of other men for the Padre’s blessing. When he came to Joey, Padre Pio called him by name, touched him on the cheek and blessed him. That was all.
Padre Pio, the famous stigmated priest helped the young, blind Joey Lomangino to begin to understand the value of suffering.
 And that was everything, the crystallizing of all that Joey had begun to experience from the moment he'd arrived at the Rotondo. For two years afterwards, Joey couldn't get the presence of Padre Pio out of his soul. In going to Foggia, Joey had made a tiny opening in his heart for God. Grace had entered and begun the transforming work. Mass and the Sacraments were still only occasional events in Joey's life but now he was experiencing the turbulence of conversion. He began to have lights of understanding - about his blindness and the family hardships that had always weighed so heavily on him. He began to understand why the financial comfort he'd dreamed about, struggled for and attained hadn't brought the joys or peace he'd thought it would. He began to fathom the emptiness.
Joey's meeting with Padre Pio effected a gradual and deeply rooted conversion. Payer became the cornerstone of his life. Joey is a daily communicant since 1963 and totally committed to the rosary
 By the Grace of God
 When Joey returned to Italy in 1963, it was specifically to be again in the presence of that holy man whose seemingly simple blessing had wrought such wonders in his soul. On the third day of his second visit to the Rotondo, Joey knelt for confession. There was no partition between him and Padre Pio, who grabbed him by the wrist and said, "Joey, confess yourself." Stunned by this face-to-face encounter, Joey couldn't speak right away. The Padre said again, "Joey, confess yourself." Joey began:
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned"…. but the priest interrupted him. "Joey, you're angry, eh?" - "No, Father, I work hard, I'm tired….." - "No, No, Joey, you're angry, eh?" As Joey searched for words to begin, Padre Pio started to tell him his sins - in English. Joey recalls, "It went like this - this Italian priest began, 'Joey, do you recall one night in a bar, a girl named Barbara, the sin you committed." I said, 'Yes Padre I do, and then he went right down the list in English, the dates, the names, the sins I committed and the places I was at. I was one piece of water. After he was all through he said, "Joey, are your sorry?" I answered 'Yes, Father, I am.' Then Padre Pio raised his hand in the air and said, "I call Jesus and Mary for you." I said, 'For me? You call Jesus and Mary for me?' He said, "Si." As Padre Pio gave me absolution, my eyes began to roll in my head. I started to rub my face, my head kept going around and around. I felt something was happening to me but I didn't know what it was. All of a sudden my head cleared. Then Padre Pio touched my lips, made me kiss the wound on his hand, gave a tap on the face, and said, "Joey, a little patience, a little courage and you're going to be all right."
"I was 33 years old, but I felt like 16. I had a firm purpose of amendment. I was sorry for every sin I committed in my whole life. I felt so good and so clean I just wanted to be left alone. And ever since then, February 16, 1963, I am a daily communicant, the cross is off my shoulders and I'm free. Until this day, I don't suffer, I'm inconvenienced, but I don't suffer."
A few days later, Joey knelt with some 50 other men outside the cloister in the Rotondo waiting for Padre Pio to pass by. Suddenly, Joey threw his arms up and plunged backward to protect himself from what he thought, in his darkness was an explosion. Actually, it was a scent - of roses. But Joey had no sense of smell for so long that the sensation suggested an explosion to him. Suddenly, Padre Pio was next to him. "He touched me on the bridge of the nose. 'Joey, don't be afraid.'"
Though his olfactory nerve had been severed 16 years earlier in the accident that also took his eyes, Joey had regained his sense of smell. He has no physical faculty to smell but his sense of smell is as acute as anyone's - by the grace of God working through Padre Pio.
Touched by grace. This beautiful mosaic, "Madonna delle Grazie" (our Lady of Grace) which dominates the upper wall behind the altar of the Capuchin Monastery Church, greeted Joey Lomangino on his first visit to San Giovanni Rotonda. Little did the blind man then realise the tremendous role Our Lady would eventually play in his life.
For 16 years, Joey made pilgrimages to San Giovanni Rotondo, sometimes two or three a year. On this particular occasion, Joey's dear friend and loyal worker for Our Lady, Bill Henry (far left) from Queens, New York, brought his daughter, Maria, to receive her first Holy communion from Padre Pio. In the background is the famed stigmatist's beloved project, "The Home for the Relief of Suffering."
  "Father, is it true……?"
The friend who had accompanied Joey to San Giovanni had done so with the understanding that after a week or so the two would go to Garabandal. Joey knew little of the apparitions at that time. He wanted only to be near Padre Pio. He persuaded his friend to accept whatever decision the Padre would render, Joey put the question : "Father, is it true that the Virgin is appearing to four girls in Spain?" The answer came, "Yes" But Joey still wanted an out, "Father, should we go to Garabandal?" The answer again was simply, "Yes, why not." So the blind American left the hallowed halls of San Giovanni Rotondo where he had begun to understand the meaning of his life. It was February, 1963, the time picked by God for Joey Lomangino to enter the Garabandal events.
At the urging of his friend, Mario Corvais (second from right), Joey asked Padre Pio, "Is it true that the Virgin is appearing to four girls in Spain?" The answer he received was to change the course of his life.
  
 Garabandal winters are very hard. Joey recalls his first night in the little mountain village: "The temperature was bitter cold, and just as bad indoors as it was outside. The houses, made of stone, had no running water, in fact, there was no plumbing, there was no heat, only occasional lighting depending on the village allotment, a little wood stove to cook on and small beds with mattresses made of straw. I think I paid for the graces that night."
A typical winter scene in Garabandal. Looking across the snow-covered roof-tops, the pines are silhouetted against the white Cantabrian mountainside
 In bed with all his clothes on - and whatever else he could find for a covering - Joey hardly slept because of the cold. He had a lot to think about anyway - the miraculous restoration of his sense of smell through Padre Pio, the journey from San Giovanni, the amazing things he and his friend, Mario, who had accompanied him to Italy and now to Garabandal, had heard the night before in Madrid, the quiet awe they'd felt upon arriving in Garabandal.
In Madrid, they had spent many hours talking with people familiar with the Garabandal events. Among them was Fr. Ramon Andreu, brother of the Jesuit priest, Fr. Luis Andreu, whom the Virgin Mary had involved in a special way in the Garabandal happenings. Fr. Ramon, also a Jesuit, had witnessed the girls in numerous ecstasies, and his accounts deeply impressed Joey.
Admittedly, Joey entered Garabandal as a believer. "Why not?" he thought. Padre Pio had opened his heart to the love of God, had made him understand that God is with His people. Padre Pio had said yes when asked in the Virgin was appearing in Garabandal. And then there was the calm, reverent testimony of Fr. Ramon and the others in Madrid.
The road into Garabandal in 1963 was little more than a cowpath. Joey has to hire and oxcart to complete the journey into the village
 Within a few days Joey met the young visionary, Conchita. He was touched by her simplicity and sincerity, her dedication to prayer and her childlike trust in the veracity of her visions.
She gave him a holy card and had written a message on it. It read as follows ;
 
"We must make many sacrifices and many penances and we must make many visits to the Blessed Sacrament. But first we must be very good and if we don't do this there will come a punishment. The cup has run over and if we don't change, we will receive a greater punishment. Will you do it, Sir? I don't know your name, but do it and have others do it. 
Conchita."  
After his talks with Conchita, Joey reasoned that it would be totally illogical to think that this girl was deceiving or being deceived. His inclination to belief now blossomed into conviction: the Virgin Mary had indeed come to this village with a Message for the world. He had to help make the Message known.
The holy card the Conchita gave Joey with a message on it
  What Can I do? 
He was blind. He was by nature timid, shy, a loner. His only design all his life had been to work, to make money for his family. Now back in New York, he tossed it around and around in his mind : "What can a guy like me do about spreading the Message?"
Joey reflects now that he was actually very well equipped to begin his mission. Etched in his heart was his encounter with Padre Pio and the spiritual and physical miracle the saintly priest had brought about in him. Also, the visionary Conchita had given him a set of rosary beads kissed by the Virgin. And he had heard the testimonies of scores of men and women both in San Giovanni and in Garabandal. He had all this plus a photo album Mario had obtained for him. There were pictures of Padre Pio and of the Garabandal ecstasies, under each picture a few lines in Braille.
Album in hand and with the rosary beads in his pocket, Joey began to witness, house-to-house, starting first with relatives and friends. Later, when slides became available through Fr. Ramon, Joey revisited the same houses. He was now showing Padre Pio, Fatima and Garabandal slides. In his presentations, which soon came to be called "conferences," Joey's theme was the love of God for all people. "God constantly calls people to Himself," Joey would say, "sometimes through the charisma of a Padre Pio, sometimes through apparitions of the Blessed Mother." He stressed the urgency of Our Lady's coming at Fatima and now at Garabandal. "Our Lady has come out of love," he would say. "We must respond with love."
Word began to spread about the blind man with his tale of the Virgin Mary's appearance in Spain. People telephoned him ¾ would he come and show the slides to them? Soon, weekends were no longer enough for this apostolate. He began to make dates for a day or two during the week and, because Mario wasn't always available, Joey recruited other friends who were happy to help, for they too were convinced of the Virgin's coming and the need to make her Message known.
But here's what was really happening, claims Joey. Immediately upon returning from Garabandal that first time, he began daily Mass and Communion. It was this daily intake of grace that opened his eyes more and more to what he was doing. He saw the need - and the fruits - of prayer. He began to ask people to join him in three Hail Mary's before he spoke to them about the slides. Very soon, the three prayers became five decades of the rosary. Now, claims Joey, there was grace not only for him but for those hearing Our Lady's Message. He saw people returning to the sacraments after long absences, their lives transformed because they had begun to pray. He got the conviction that is today the keynote of his apostolate : only God's grace converts and sustains; true wisdom, true peace, the ability to endure - these things come only through grace obtained by prayer.
"Do You Want to See?"
 Unless specially asked, Joey never mentions the prophecy concerning his eyes. But he believes without reservation that he will one day see. The Virgin Mary said so.
How did the prophecy come about? There's a little more background to it than is generally known.
Some months after the accident (June 27, 1947) that blinded him, Joey was asleep at home in Brooklyn. He shared a bedroom with his three brothers. Joey's bed was farthest from the door. He woke to a voice which seemed to be coming from the hallway :
 
 Joey do you want to see again?
"Yes". 

Then you pray. Say 17 Hail Mary's, seven Acts o Contrition, five Our Father's three times a day." 
When will you be back?" 

Soon.
Concerning this voice, Joey is emphatic: "I never had any visions, locutions or any of those things. I'm just ordinary. But God knows what it takes to move me. This thing that happened to me was real, and I know it, and I will never believe I dreamed or imagined it."
Many years passed and, as Joey puts it, "Nothing happened." But the reality of it never diminished. He continued to say the requested prayers faithfully three times a day.
Seventeen years later, in Garabandal, he told Conchita about it. He told her at the same time about his desire to establish a home for the abandoned afflicted, a project he'd conceived as a result of having participated in several pilgrimages for the sick to St. Anne de Beaupre Shrine in Canada. Conchita told Joey she would speak to the Virgin Mary about him. Joey left Garabandal on the same day, March 18, 1964. Two weeks later at his home in Lindenhurst, New York, he received a letter from Conchita:
St. Joseph's' day
1964

My dear Joseph,
Just two lines to tell you the message which the Blessed Virgin gave me for you today at the pines … she told me that the voice you heard was her's and that you shall see on the very day of the Miracle. She also told me that the house of Charity you will establish in New York will bring great glory to God.
Conchita Gonzalez.
"It took some time for the prophecy to sink in," says Joey. "But the thing that made me very happy immediately was the confirmation of the voice. God rewarded my faith in His own wonderful way." As to the "House of Charity," Joey believes the Virgin referred to his New York Garabandal Center. "Everything we do here," says Joey, "is for the glory of God."
Organization and Expansion
In those early years, Joey's only interest was showing the pictures and slides. But around him, and largely through him, the organization to be known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal, New York Center, was taking shape. People associated with Joey were corresponding with Conchita and with Fr. Laffineur, the now deceased French priest who was a pioneer in the cause of Garabandal throughout Europe. As new information came from abroad (the apparitions were still taking place at this time), Joey's people would disseminate it in a "newsletter" to the growing numbers of people who had heard Joey's conference. The workers were also answering letters of inquiry and distributing the leaflet The Apparitions of Garabandalto the tune of 20,000 - 30,000 a month and 80,000 by 1970.
Invitations to hear Joey speak began to come from out of town, and, as a result of these engagements and the rapidly mushrooming mail operation, new Centers for the promotion of the Garabandal Message began to sprout throughout the country. In 1968, the magazine NEEDLES, later to be renamed GARABANDAL, was developed for Centers, specifically to answer the most frequently asked questions - so that the workers would have the benefit of Joey's firsthand information from Garabandal. Also, Dick Everson made the Garabandal documentary 16mm film and Joey began to show it and promote it.
In the meantime, Joey's conferences had averaged out to six a week in the New York area alone. All around him, people grateful for their own spiritual rebirth wanted to help. Joey put them to work - making rosaries and scapulars, setting up Eucharistic Vigils and Rosary Rallies, helping with the printing and mailing.
One man with a photo album had begun a Garabandal apostolate in America that grew into 400 Centers of varying size and scope. They show films, distribute literature, promote the rosary, the scapular and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Eloise de Guia, a Filipino citizen living in Madrid at the time, who served as Joey Lomangino's guide and translator for many visits to Garabandal stands behind Joey's brother, Antony, (14 years old) born 21 years to the day after Joey, Joey was in the village on June 18, 1965 as Conchita has written to him telling him the date of the second message
 An Inspiration to Millions
Joey returned to Garabandal regularly after 1963 and was there on June 18, 1965, for the second Message.
Garabandal June 18, 1965. Conchita (foreground) receives the second Message. Joey (arrow) and his youngest brother, Anthony, seated on the wall behind him, are among those intently watching the event unfolding before them.
Joey remembers his consoling dream.
It was 16 years later when he realised
that the place in the dream
was Garabandal
It was early in 1965, Joey was at home in Lindenhurst lying on the couch saying his rosary. Meditating, these words kept coming to him-dream-trees-Garabandal-dream-Garabandal -trees-dream.... His mind went back to May, 1949, he had just been registered at Blind School.
He was unhappy in this strange place, with his blindness - he didn’t want it. He was alone, he missed his family, and he knew they were suffering. Joey had been put in the infirmary for orientation. He waited, he listened, he knew he was alone. After a while, he got up, began to take a few steps, then a few more-the door- way. Cautiously, he made his way down the hallway but then, without realising it, passed through an open exit door and fell down a flight of stairs. Not wanting to cause alarm, he quickly crawled up the stairs and clung to the wall searching for the doorway opening. Hurt, scared, lonely and frustrated, he laid on his bed, took out his rosary and then began to cry. He cried himself to sleep.
Joey recalls this dream:
"I saw what I thought was a beautiful golf course, lush green grass, rolling hills, a clump of trees behind me and I was standing there, looking up. There was something going on up in the heavens. I had my eyes back-and they were blue." "When I awoke I felt comforted by what I saw. Although I was scared, I knew in time I would be all right. This thought sustained me as I started a new life in a blind world and I had the courage to make the most of every opportunity that would come to me."
It was only in 1965, after all those years, that Joey was to connect this consoling dream with the Garabandal events.
 
"I saw what I thought was a beautiful golf course. . . lush green grass, rolling hills, a clump of tress behind me . . ."
On a bench outside the house, Conchita's brother Cetuco carves wooden shoes while Joey listens to Conchita's conversation with her aunt, Maximina (far left), another villager and Joey's interpreter Eloise de Guia.
  Back home he visited 40 states across America. In addition, he appeared on national television and on numerous local television and radio programs.
His personal mail became voluminous:
Dear Joey - We could never thank you enough for all the good you accomplished here, but we can thank you for your generosity with your time, your patience, and your love for Our Lady.
Dear Joey - You must come back soon. You have so much to reach us. What a great inspiration you have been to all of us.
Conchita gave Joey his now famous kissed medal in 1965. however, he did not use it until 1968 when  his Spiritual Director, Fr. Alphonse Brough, encouraged him to apply it to the sick and suffering. From that time on, and at all his conferences, thousands of people have venerated this medal and untold graces and favours have been received
Many visitors passed through the "House of Charity" at 380 South Fifth Street, Lindenhurst, Long island, N.Y. It was an honour to have Fr. Marcelino Andreu as main celebrant at a Mass concelebrated with Joey's former spiritual director (left), the late Fr. Archangel Sica, O.F.M., and another visiting priest.'
 In truth, untold thousands of people have turned to God because of Joey’s zeal. But he puts it in the proper perspective : "In the beginning it’s all Joey, Joey. But as they pray, Joey decreases, God increases – because they get the grace to understand. I’m only an instrument. We are all instruments and God wishes that the particular charisma that each person has be used to bring others to know, to love, and to serve Him."Joey contends that most people are not drawn to spiritual things. "They don’t have the inclination - like a priest has, for example. They need a Padre Pio or a Garabandal, something to snap their attention." He say, once turned on, there’s confession and Communion and they find themselves before the Blessed Sacrament more and more. From this they go to Third Orders, they work in the Church, devote time to charities, and so forth. From the overflow of their prayer life comes the zeal to save souls.
Those who suffer, physically or otherwise, feel a special affinity to Joey. "When we carry our cross," he tells them, "living in grace with God, we glorify God, obtain graces for the conversion of sinners, free souls in Purgatory and strengthen the Church. Think of the passion of Jesus and unite your suffering to His. God will give you the grace to understand the mysteries of the Cross and Salvation, and to persevere in love."
Garabandal and Fatima
 In 1967, Joey spent three weeks at the Blue Army School of Apostolic Formation in Fatima. It is clear to him that Garabandal is an extension of Fatima. Indeed, "There’d be no Garabandal if we’d listened at Fatima." The marvelous thing, says Joey, is "that God keeps extending Himself in spite of our reluctance to listen. It seems that people just don’t want to change their ways." Reflecting on Marian apparitions in general, he makes this analogy: "A child is playing in the street and his mother is watching him. He sees a big dog or there’s a loud noise and, frightened, he runs to his mother. On the other hand, the child could be playing and not see that a truck is coming his way and about to strike him. The mother runs to the child to save him, Mary runs after us because we’re in trouble and don’t see it. She sees that we’re in danger of losing our souls."
It was in 1967, at the Blue Army School of Apostolic Formation in Fatima when Joey fist realised that the communists would never be conquered. They would have to be converted
 Time to Spread the Message
 As his apostolate grew Joey became convinced that Garabandal is God speaking to a world in crisis. "We have been told we are receiving the last warnings," he said. "The length of time Our Lady has already given us to spread her Message is an indication of how vital it is."
Driven by an urgency to reach people everywhere before time ran out, he pressed on. The more he worked, the longer the road became.
Soon his travels would expand, he could sense it, there was a new horizon dawning for the blind man with a mission.
  
 It was November, 1977. Joey Lomangino was in Africa. Waiting in the hot night air of the Lagos airport in Nigeria, Joey’s mind wandered back in time. He thought of his first visit in February, 1963, to the remote village of Garabandal in the snow capped mountains of northern Spain. His friend had wanted to visit the place where Our Lady reportedly appeared. Yes, it was true that Our Lady was appearing there. Padre Pio had assured Joey personally. Never could he have dreamed the impact that journey would have on his life. Straight out of Brooklyn, tragically blinded at age sixteen in a freak accident, Joey was determined not to wind up on a street corner with a tin cup in his hand. Heavily burdened by the impending poverty of his family, he resolved to make the most of every opportunity to learn. When, at age twenty-four, the chance to go into private business presented itself, Joey seized it, and along with his three brothers, began to build a future.
It was apparently a part of God’s bigger plan that for a time Joey became materially successful and financially secure – a situation that would later allow him to travel on behalf of his rapidly evolving apostolate.
A loud screech brought Joey’s attention back to the airport. Again he felt smothered by the steamy Nigerian air, the clamour of foreign voices around him, the strange atmosphere. He inquired about the delay. "Trouble with the tickets," he was told. He took out his rosary, "Hail Mary, full of grace…." The heat was stifling. He wanted to think about somewhere fresh and cool…. Ireland in May!
How many years had he visited Ireland? Upto 1977 it would be eight years in a row. Joey remembered it was Charles Horan, a retired gentleman from California who first invited him to Ireland. In one of the largest halls in Dublin on a Sunday there were two conferences back-to-back. Over 1,300 people came to hear Joey talk about Padre Pio and Garabandal. The Irish took the blind man to their hearts and it proved to be the beginning of a beautiful and rewarding experience that would lead a strong Irish Garabandal movement.
(left) Joey's first trip abroad was to  Ireland in 1969, at the invitation of Charles Horan, shown here in a 1970 photo with the blind man and Conchita.(Right) for several years, Joey travelled the Irish raods with Richard Stanley, while Maura, Dick's wife stayed behind to care for their rapidly growing family. The two men covered almost every mile of the country making known the Garabandal story wherever they went.
 It was Richard Stanley and his young wife, Maura, who eventually stepped forward to build a Center that, in the promotion of Garabandal, brought Joey over every year and sent him on his first trip to England and Scotland. Working closely with the New York Garabandal Center, the Stanleys became the first to reproduce GARABANDAL magazine overseas.
Joey enjoyed the Irish: their laughter, their simplicity, and most of all their holiness and deep faith. Probing for answers he asked his friend, Richard Stanley, "Why is there so much strife in Northern Ireland?" He received a profound reply, "Well, Joey lad, I guess not enough good Irish people are praying." This man understood the Garabandal Message.
LAGOS, Nigeria, 2:00 a.m.
 Finally, the tickets were in order, and Joey prepared for the last lap of a long journey. First there had been Hong Kong where a happy and fruitful five days of conferences took place. Then there was the second step to India. Joey had been there two years earlier when he was invited by a group of priests headed by Fr. Paul Van Wynesberghe, S.J. and Fr. Francis Benac, S.J.
Joey will never forget the warm reception he received in 1975 from the clergy throughout India. Fr. Francis Benac, left, and  Joey were grateful for the opportunity to meet with Valerian Cardinal Gracias, second from right to discuss Garabandal.
Joseph Cardinal Parecattil welcomed the blind American and venerated the medal kissed by the Virgin at Garabandal that Joey held in his hand.
 On this trip he was received as Mary’s ambassador by cardinals, bishops and priests. Only in third world countries was he to experience such a reception and witness over-whelming public Marian devotion. Seventeen thousand people were present when Valerian Cardinal Gracias welcomed Joey, and spoke of Garabandal, placing it in a similar category to Lourdes and Fatima. With Fr. Benac as the spearhead in India, one of the most effective Garabandal Centers in the world emerged.
In February, 1982, Joey met with another member of the Church's hierarchy, Jamie Cardinal Sine of the Phillippines, at the latter's residence in Manila
 Through "New Horizons," Joey’s special appeal fund, a steady stream of literature, books, films, magazines, rosaries and scapulars traveled into India, Burma and Pakistan – all spreading the Garabandal Message. Because of the strong support he was receiving from so many Garabandal promoters in the United States, Joey knew the harvest would come from that fertile ground. He had initiated the Garabandal Message in forty states across America and knew the Americans would continue the effort, showing the film house to house and publicly when they had an opportunity. He was not disappointed. He knew, also, that God was directing him to reach out and tell the Message to everyone who would listen. Reflecting on his travels to establish and strengthen Garabandal International, Joey told his friends at home that religious devotion and prayer life seemed to be strongest in those places that are simple, poor and humble. He found this so throughout his conferences in Nigeria.
"Here is the sower, gone out to sow." (Matt. 13-3-4)
 His trip had been very successful. Hundreds came from remote parts of that African country to hear Our Lady’s Message and their enthusiasm would be sustained through the ensuing years.
 Divine Intervention
 But now Joey was back home in Lindenhurst, Long Island. The trip half way round the world was completed. Before that there had been the trip to Ireland, and the increasing demands of a rapidly growing international apostolate.
The year 1977 was a difficult one for Joey. His hectic travel schedule was taking its toll on his health and he became aware he was losing his hearing. There was shortage of volunteers at the Center to help with the workload of his expanding apostolate and his once prosperous business was in the throes of reorganization. Joey was troubled by what was happening. But in the midst of all this, he was preparing for one of the biggest moments in his life.
Joey was getting married! How did this happen? Where did he find the time? Again God had intervened in Joey’s life in a very special way. This was a marriage "made in heaven" and he knew it. Earlier in the year, Joey had received a sign. He did not know exactly what this one meant; he had received such signs before. As he rode to his business office in the city each day, he told his sister, Frances, several times that the name ":Luther" and "Michigan" kept coming to his mind. Eventually, he would meet them and whatever their situation was they would usually end up working with him for the Blessed Mother. Weeks went by and this name continued coming to him. It became like a gentle nudge on his shoulder. "But," recalls Joey, "the person didn’t show up."
It was a typical summer evening in July, 1977, when the annual Joey Lomangino tour of fifty-plus people was assembling at JKF Airport in New York City. Joey began these tours when so many Garabandalists wanted to accompany him to Garabandal. This time it included Marian shrines. As Joey had not had time to check over the passenger list, his secretary, Rosemaire Melunchuk, introduced him to each passenger, in turn, mentioning the state they came from. Hal way around the Pan Am conference room where they were assembled, Joey hear, "This is Mary Luther and her daughter, Marilynn, from Michigan."
"There it is," thought Joey, Luther and Michigan! But he felt too weary to talk then, so he decided that later, after he had a rest, he would pursue the story.
Marilynn Luther came from Detroit, Michigan, the second oldest of the children of Maurice and Mary Luther. Mr. Luther had died in 1960 of cancer at age 51, leaving his wife with their ten children (two were babies in diapers and several were still small). Marilynn, now at the age 37, had an excellent position with General Motors Corporation and lived at home with the family. This was her first pilgrimage, although she had travelled abroad previously. Her mother had been an ardent Garabandal promoter since 1964 and longed to visit Garabandal, particularly with Joey’s tour. When Marilynn became aware of her mother’s wish she decided to sell her paid-off car and take her mother on the trip. This brought Marilynn into the Garabandal picture and her first meeting with Joey Lomangino.
When the plane touched down in France, Joey knew that this would be an outstanding tour. All the places he loved were included: the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, St. Bernadette in Nevers, Lourdes, Garabandal and Fatima. But he did not know that the meeting which had already taken place in JKF Airport would result in an irrevocable change in the direction of his life.
It was at Lourdes that Joey decided to pursue "Luther and Michigan." Right away he like Mary Luther, the mother, as she talked and laughed with him. She was an Irish mother (her maiden name was Lynch). She told him about her family, her husband who was of German and Irish descent and how, when he had died seventeen years earlier, her whole family had stayed together, and that there were eight still single living at home. She had that deep faith that Joey had seen in Ireland – she knew how to carry her cross. Joey was deeply impressed and continued to talk with her.
On the other hand, the daughter seemed very quiet. "She didn’t talk," Joey recalls. Actually she, too, was tired and had come on the trip for a good rest and spiritual refreshment. Joey and Marilynn spoke briefly in Lourdes and then the group moved on to Garabandal, where the two became friends. Leaving Garabandal, they attended Mass in Cosio together. The group’s next stop was Fatima. Each evening after dinner, as was the custom, everyone would assemble for a walk and a rosary. This evening, perhaps due to the lateness of the hour, only Marilynn stayed with Joey for the rosary. When they had finished, they sat down on a stone bench and began to talk.
"All of a sudden, I knew I was looking at my wife. All the things that had kept me single for so long were lifted and I knew this was the girl who would share the rest of my life. I said, ‘Marilynn, I want to marry you.’"
She was dumbfounded and replied, "Marry you? I don’t even know you!" "What do you want to know?" Joey said. "I’ll tell you anything you want to know." Marilynn said she wouldn’t say "no" to his proposal – that she would think it over.
The final three days in Fatima were very happy ones. Marilynn had told Joey that she wanted to make her decision in her own home. She wanted to be sure that this was God’s will. Her mother had told Joey that she had perceived he was interested in her daughter and had said, "If you’re holy, Joey, everything works unto good. It’s Marilynn’s decision and whatever she decides is alright with me."
Back in Michigan
Upon arriving home, Marilynn went to her room and soon fell asleep. About 2:00 a.m. she woke up. All the things Joey had told her were going through her mind. She slipped her hand under her pillow and pulled out her rosary. Praying, she fell asleep again.
Gardening was Marilynn’s hobby. The yard of her home in Michigan was filed with flowers; there was a shrine to Our Lady with nine Michigan pines. Sleeping, Marilynn began to dream. She found herself looking down upon a beautiful garden; all the flowers were in bloom at their peak. As she watched, she noticed a gardener, he was transparent – she could see the colours of the flowers right through his body. He started working around one flower, digging very gently. It was a tall Easter lily with one white bloom at the top. The gardener took the plant in his hands and gently moved it over to another garden, equally as beautiful, but with different flowers – different colours. He placed the lily in the ground that was already prepared, patted the earth securely around it and disappeared. "The last thing I remember in the dream," said Marilynn, "was the lily standing just as strong in the new garden as it had been in the old one." When Marilynn awoke, she knew without a doubt that it was God’s will that she should marry Joey and that everything would work out smoothly.
She called Joey to tell him she would marry him. She told him about her dream. "Joey," she said, "The lily is me. The old garden is my home and the new one is yours. I am being moved from one place to another and am being shown that it will be a smooth and easy move." Joey said, "And the gardener – that’s God."
They set a date and were married on December 8, 1977 – a special day for them, and for Our Lady – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Joey and Marilynn Lomangino were married during a Mass concelebrated by seven priest on December 8, 1977, at the Church of the precious Blood Detroit, Michigan. After the reception, the couple left for Mexico City to begin their married life by honoring Our Lady at her Guadalupe Shrine.
 Taking Up the International Directorship
After his marriage, Joey took his wife with him to complete his pre-arranged travel schedule. They worked together in Joey’s office and gave weekend conference in many parts of the United States.
In May, 1978, they toured Ireland, England, and Scotland and were warmly received at the numerous gatherings and lectures.
Great preparations and much prayer preceded the First International Congress on Garabandal held at Lourdes in August of 1978. Twenty-six countries were represented and both Joey and Marilynn were scheduled speakers at this event. The results of that Congress opened a new phase in the spread of the Message.
The activities of the New York Center urgently demanded Joey’s attention. As far back as 1976 it had been suggested by Joey’s spiritual advisor that he should :
  1. Channel his energies into his international correspondence to establish new centers throughout the world.
  2. Keep in close contact with, and encourage, promoters at home.
  3. Update the Garabandal magazine and improve its circulation.
But these changes took time to implement.
July 16, 1978, was the last of Joey’s public conferences. Becoming an involved and active International Director, he found himself more and more behind the desk. Each issue of GARABANDAL Magazine reports on this work, and through Joey’s constant attention, the Message continues to spread.
At home, Joey’s joy was to be complete with the birth of two sons. Joseph Michael, born May 18, 1979, and John Paul, born September 17, 1981. Needless so say, the boys are the "apple of his eye," and they accompany their daddy to special occasions at the New York Center whenever an opportunity presents itself.
This photograph taken in 1985 shows Joseph Michael at age six and John Paul, age four. They are a dream come true for Joey and Marilynn and fill their happy home with joy. Both boys were consecrated to Our Lady when they were baptised.
 Today, Joey’s responsibility for rebuilding his business and providing for his family, no longer affords him the time to travel as he used to do, planting the seeds of the Garabandal Message. But his efforts are well directed toward nurturing those seeds and furthering the work of Garabandal International.
Occasionally, long journeys are taken to establish new centers. One was in February, 1982, when Joey flew to the other side of the world, to New Zealand. He was welcomed by clergy and laity alike and the hall was filled to capacity on both days to hear the Garabandal speakers.
In December of that year, Joey conducted a family pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico to honour the Blessed Mother, and where both his family and the tour group could view at first hand the miraculous image of the Virgin on Juan Diego’s cloak..
In the fall of 1980, the British Broadcasting Corporation, at the urging of the London Garabandal Center and with Joey’s support and encouragement, produced a documentary on Garabandal. The result was an award winning thirty-two minute film which has already been shown three times by the BBC throughout the United Kingdom and also on national TV in New Zealand. Private showings have been held in the United States and other countries.
In Australia, things were not at a standstill either. The Australian government’s official television network, ABC, sent producer Peter Wilkinson to Joey in New York and to Garabandal, to film a segment for the Australian "60 Minutes" program. "After the telecast, the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree," reported John Leriou, Australian Garabandal promoter, "and we ran out of every piece of literature we had."
In February, 1985, Joey attended the Australian National Conference on Garabandal. It was held in Canberra, the capital city, and participants came from all parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Tonga in the South Pacific.
And Joey’s Future Work?
Joey’s most important work now comes to him in each day’s mail.
Visitors from all over the world come to Joey’s Holy Hour, on the fourth Wednesday of each month, at 380 South Fifth Street, Lindenhurst, Long Island (516-226-4408). He also welcomes new workers there.
Joey is frequently on the telephone: speaking with out-of-town visitors, being interviewed, solving problems, verifying facts and new highlights of the Garabandal events for publication in the Magazine – and always promoting the Garabandal Message.
New centers are springing up in many countries. Garabandal leaflets are being printed in numerous foreign languages, and the mail is full of letters requesting more information and more literature.
The New York Center is located at 380 South Fifth Street, Lindenhurst. Long Island, New York. Joey feels that it is the "House of Charity" about which the Blessed Mother spoke to Conchita in 1963.
 A computer has been installed in the New York Center to expedite, delivery of GARABANDAL magazine, and the Center’s printing press never stops in the production of Garabandal material. The publication and sale of Garabandal books is increasing and Joey is always ready to send workers for interviews with witnesses who have been moved to tell more of what they saw and heard in Garabandal during the years of the visions.
He loves being Our Lady’s instrument. As Joey puts it, "I just can’t stop. Our Lady gave me this job, and each day she gives me the grace to do it."
Twenty plus years ago, a young Spanish visionary named Conchita gave him a card with the Garabandal Message written on it. She asked him, "Will you do it, sir, and tell others to do it?" Joey’s reply was "Yes." He believes this is Our Lady’s Message and he has never turned his back on her. Working from his "House of Charity" in Lindenhurst, he pursues the goal to make the Garabandal Message known worldwide before the coming Warning, so that many will share the joy to come on the day of the Great Miracle.
(Reproduced from magazine  GARABANDAL - Special Issue 1996)