Garabandal seen by a missionary priest
Father Geraldo (Gerry) Farrel, a native of New York, was ordained a missionary priest in June 1957. Of the 26 years of service to the Lord, 21 years were spent in Korea. In 1993, after spending a few days in Rhode Island, New York, at Betânia's house, he was called back to Korea again. Last summer, he returned to Brooklyn where his mother and sister live, taking advantage of the extended vacation request he usually has every three years.
Father Farrel believes that Garabandal's messages come from God and on July 15, 1986, Marie Fitz Patrick from our editorial team interviewed him on the subject of Garabandal. His reflections from the point of view of a missionary regarding the impact of the Warning and the Miracle, are seen in another perspective that almost no one had yet considered.
Question: How did you hear about Garabandal?
Answer: I heard about Garabandal through a book by Joseph Pelletier. "Our Lady comes to Garabandal". Bethany's home was located in the Providence diocese, not far from Pelletier's home in Worcester, Massachusetts. When it was learned in 1975 that Father Pelletier had had a heart attack, we went to visit him at the hospital. It was on that occasion that I learned about the Garabandal book and it was from there that I started reading it. In the years that followed, I visited him on several occasions with other priests, where I learned a lot about Garabandal through him.
Question: Did you ever meet Conchita ?
Answer: Yes, several times. After Bethany's house was moved to Hastings on Hudson, New York, I met a layman at a conference who asked me about the type of work we were doing. I replied: "through the intercession of the priests." He later commented to me that he often went to "Holy hour for priests" to Conchita Keena's home in New York, and if one day I liked going there, he would be happy to take me with him. Then, one day I accepted his proposal and went to Conchita's house for the first time on June 18, 1981. (Later on, "Holy Hours" were held on Fridays.) During the journey I could see that on that day , it was 20 years after the first appearance in Garabandal. When I got to her house, I greeted her, at first she looked at me a little puzzled, but then she smiled. After "Holy Hour", she brought us a cake with "Happy twentieth birthday".
Since it took only forty-five minutes from Betânia's house to Conchita's house, I went there more often and took some invited priests with me. Almost all the members of our house went to "Holy Hour" that was held at Conchita's house. They were impressed by the seriousness of the "Holy Hour", the prayers for the priests and the people's faithfulness to that moment. I was very impressed with Conchita's humility, simplicity and straightforwardness, someone to whom Our Lady wanted to appear and to whom she wanted to entrust the messages, which were heard directly by her.
Question: Did you also get to know the other visionaries?
Answer: I met Mari-Loli and her family when I returned from a trip to Garabandal in 1982. I told her about the latest news from Garabandal and she was interested in hearing it. I was impressed by your humility and simplicity.
Question: How did you meet Joey?
Answer: Through a mutual friend, Father Carl Hammer of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Father Carl was with Joey in his parish to talk about Garabandal, so when the priest came to Betânia's house as a guest in 1981, we went together to visit Joey at his home. A year later I went with Joey on the pilgrimage to Guadalupe, Mexico, where he celebrated his fifth wedding anniversary and my twenty-five years of priestly ordination.
Question: As a missionary, what was it that you found so special about Garabandal that led you to spread the messages?
Answer: There were too many phenomena connected with Garabandal that were very striking for me. What I found most important, had to do with the way in which Our Lady appeared, her greater closeness and connection with the girls, when compared to other apparitions, like Lourdes for example.
In Lourdes, he was in a cave, in Fátima he was in a holm oak, in Guadalupe on a hill. But in Garabandal she was very maternal and domestic, often appearing in all the houses in the village, alleys, in the cemetery, in the Church and in the "pins". She wanted to be with girls everywhere and in all situations, even in games like hidden ones, etc. So I think that this maternal approach was the most notable fact for me.
At this point in the interview, Father Farrel spoke and reflected on some key topics related to the events in Garabandal.
The Eucharistic Message
The most important point for me in relation to my apostolate was to establish Perpetual Adoration in the parishes of Koreia, which is in line with the urgency with which Our Lady spoke in Garabandal about the importance of the Eucharist and the visit to the Blessed Sacrament. In the first public message that says: "visit the Blessed Sacrament often ..." and in the second message: "The Eucharist is becoming less and less important ...", the word Eucharist is used quite significantly. Also because the girls receive the Eucharist from the Angel whenever a Priest was not present in Garabandal, because there was a prodigious miracle of the visible host in Garabandal, it is indeed remarkable.
The Warning and the Miracle
In the 1917 Fatima message, Our Lady said that if her call was not answered, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. And this happened! Many people are deprived of contact with missionaries, because their countries have become communist countries. There are thousands of people in the world who are prevented from hearing the Gospel. For example, in China, where a billion people live, preaching the Gospel is strictly prohibited. In addition, we could talk about more situations in communist countries or countries where Buddhism is practiced, Hinduism, where Christian evangelization is prohibited. This situation of confrontation with the missionaries is much more serious now than in 1917.
I believe that these two prophecies transmitted by Our Lady reveal the beautiful antidote of God for this whole situation. These prophecies tell us that God through an act of His mercy, regardless of the relationship that each of us will have with God, will give us an opportunity for conversion. These two events prophesied by Our Lady, are designed to bring us the essential elements for the realization of a true conversion of life, and which we can find in the first words spoken by the Lord: "Repent and believe in the Gospel."
The Warning, the first of the events, was designed to bring us repentance. Through this event, all people, at the same time, those who believe and those who do not believe, will see their relationship with God in a true moment of truth in which we will have the opportunity to repent of our sins. It will be a unique event in human history. God does this simply because He is a loving Father who sees our needs and has decided to do it this way. The Miracle, the second event, was designed to enable us to deepen our faith in the Gospel, our faith in Jesus Christ. This is because it will be clear that it is He who will prepare the Miracle appointed in this way for His true Church.
As in the Warning, the benefits of the Miracle will be appreciated by everyone. According to God's providence, all of this will happen in a time of global communications. Many will see directly, others will be informed of these events. Once everyone will experience the Warning, those who repent will be willing to believe in Jesus and His Miracle, thus completing their personal conversion. How many will regret it? God only knows the answer to this question. But there will certainly be many, and all of this will create a huge challenge for missionaries to teach the truths of the Gospel to all those who have recently been converted, and to welcome them to the Church as well. In other words, in the near future, we will be able to look at a glorious period of evangelization.
Translated by the Garabandal Apostolate