[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Miracle in Miami?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Miracle in Miami?

I'm normally not inclined to believe the validity of holy apparitions. Neither is the Catholic Church for that matter. Of course, we have the big ones that have actually received acceptance by the Church, such as Lourdes and Fatima. But for every one of those there are countless others that tend to "fade away" with time.

Having said this, news of an apparent holy apparition at a local church in the Westchester section of Miami has people talking, and believing. That church is St. Brendan, a church well-known in local circles as having devout parishioners located in a predominantly Cuban-American section of town, and where I was confirmed.

Hundreds lined up outside a Westchester chapel Friday to see it for themselves: the silhouette of the Holy Family projected mysteriously onto a white tapestry.

''It gave me goose bumps,'' Samuel Rosario said as he left the chapel at St. Brendan Catholic Church, cellphone in hand. ``I had to come and see it. It's a miracle.''

Since first appearing late Wednesday, the shadow at St. Brendan has drawn long lines. Parents clutching rosaries and camcorders. Schoolchildren in their uniforms. The aged. Worshipers from as far away as the Keys.

Officials at the church won't say whether they believe the Virgin Mary has appeared, but they're thrilled by the turnout.

''What the people see, that's up to their interpretation,'' said Father Fernando Heria of St. Brendan, at 8725 SW 32nd St. ``What's important is the awakening in people's hearts. Thousands of people have come through the doors of our little chapel. As a priest, what more can I ask for?''

I agree with the Father here. It's nice to see these stories, not because of the validity of the image, but because of the faith it inspires. In a day when religious faith is poo-pooed on by elements of the mass media, it's nice to see that there are still plenty of believers out there who realize that there's more to life than the self, that there's indeed something bigger and more important out there.

Like I said above, I'm typically skeptical of these things. But for a on-again, off-again practicing Catholic, it would be awesome if this ended up being real, right here in Miami.



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