Saturday, September 2, 2023

Sat, September 2: Letter from Garabandal


    Garabandal, Spain. In this tiny Spanish village not far from the northern coast of Spain in the 1960s, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared on numerous occasions to four Spanish girls: Conchita González, her second cousin Jacinta González, and Mari Loli Mazón, all three then 12 years old (in 1961), and Mari Cruz González, then 11 (photo below; Mari Loli is now deceased)

    Today I met with one of the four, Jacinta, now 74, whose name is now Jacinta González Moynihan; she married an Irish-American named Jeffrey Moynihan in the 1970s. (Jacinta is second from the right in the photos of the four girls below).

    In the very center of the photo above are several dark green pine trees. The area is 20 minutes up a steep path from the village of Garabandal, known as "The Pines." The Virgin appeared to the girls near the pines, as well as in the village. The pines were planted in the 1920s, about 100 years ago, to commemorate the first communions of children in those years

    Jacinta in the 1960s

    Jacinta González Moynihan today, speaking with Robert Moynihan, author of this letter, in Garabandal, Spain (September 2, 2023)


    Robert Moynihan, author of this letter, with Jeffrey Moynihan, husband of Jacinta, today in Garabandal

    Letter #123, 2023, Saturday, September 2: Letter from Garabandal

    I write this letter to bear witness to three things I have seen and heard:

    -- five centuries of the Rosary in Garabandal;

    -- the profound silence of The Pines which have grown up above the village;

    -- the remembrance and sharing of kisses given by the Virgin to four girls 60 years ago, which continues to be shared even today.


    The rosary of centuries

    In the small church in the middle of the Spanish village of Garabandal, a rosary has been recited every evening for the past 500 years.

    (The rosary is a Catholic prayer which focuses attention on the coming into the world of the Logos, the Word of God, Jesus Christ. In five joyful mysteries, the birth of Christ to the Virgin Mary is recalled; in five sorrowful mysteries, the passion and death of Christ is recalled; in five glorious mysteries, the resurrection of Christ, his triumph over death itself, is recalled.)

    In the rosary, 10 Hail Marys are prayed with each mystery, totaling 150 Hail Marys for the 15 traditional mysteries; this is the same number as that of the Psalms of King David, which number 150. Three other Hail Marys are prayed at the beginning of each Rosary, for faith, hope and love. So the total of the Hail Marys is 153, which is the same number as the number of fish caught by the disciples in the Sea of Galilee after Christ's resurrection, when they had fished all night and caught nothing, but then cast their nets on the other side of their fishing boat, and caught 153 fish, which John says were poured out on the beach, and counted. Many Church Fathers later interpreted this number as symbolic of all the species of fish, but also symbolic of the number of all the nations in the world, which would be drawn into the nets of the evangelists by the preaching of the disciples in the centuries up until today.


    A century of the pine grove

    Above the village of Garabandal, there is a grove of pine trees.

    The tress were planted from seeds given to children making their first communions in the 1920s. So the trees are now 100 years old.

    This is a place of profound peace.

    It is said that a miracle will someday occur in this place, a miracle which will be visible to the entire world, which will leave a permanent sign until the end of time.    


    The kiss of the Virgin

    Each time the four girls of Garabandal saw the Virgin, and spoke with her, she spoke with them as a mother speaks to her children.

    She was familiar, gentle, encouraging, loving.

    And each time she left them, the children said, she kissed them, to show her love for them.

    So, at the center of the Garabandal apparitions was the Virgin's maternal kiss.

    The love of a mother for her children.    


    I spoke briefly today with Jacinta, and with her husband, Jeffrey, who has my same name, Moynihan, and whose father was named Dr. Robert Moynihan.

    She showed me a crucifix that she has kept for more than 60 years. She told me that the Virgin had kissed the crucifix when she had held it up to her.

    She held out the crucifix to me, so that I too might kiss it.

    In this way, the maternal kiss of the Virgin of Garabandal was shared also with me; in this letter, it is my hope that such a kiss may also be shared with each of you.

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