Joey Lomangino, part I
Joey Lomangino has dedicated and still devotes much of his life to spreading Garabandal's message, despite being blind. He was one of the first preachers and apostles of Garabandal in the world. Read your story.
Joey Lomangino has dedicated and still devotes much of his life to spreading Garabandal's message, despite being blind. He was one of the first preachers and apostles of Garabandal in the world. Read your story.
Conchita informed Joey about what the Virgin said to her: "The first thing he (Joey) will see will be the miracle my son will perform through my intercession, and from that moment on he will see permanently."
Conchita further explained that her understanding of the Virgin's term "new eyes" is the eyes as we know them - not necessarily the spiritual vision - and that Joey's new eyes "will be used for the glory of God."
So it seems that God wanted to publicly associate this blind man from Lindenhurst, New York, with the Garabandal event. Since 1963, Joey has traveled around the world spreading prayer, penance, and faith in God. Through his slide show, radio, television, he has been able to get millions of people to hear Garabandal's message. But what is Joey's reason for wanting to do all this? The prophecy about the new eyes - is that what makes you move? Or was it really touched in grace in a very special way?
This is the story of Joey, the apostle of Garabandal
Joey grew up in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge, the oldest of five children and one daughter from a low-income Italo-American family. Pasquale (named Charlie) Lomangino, Joey's father, was ill most of the time, and by that nature he had to retire when he still had about 300 clients in the ice and coal business. This problem persisted until Charlie's children were old enough to get the company back on the market. It was from there that the company again began to adequately provide so that the family could survive.
Charlie's firstborn was the boy of his eyes, a fully devoted considerate boy, in conclusion, a good boy. At school, Joey was a nice average student. But I almost never cultivated great friendships. His interests were only in employment, which after school was so helpful to support the family. At 10 he was already a big help in his father's work. At 12, he convinced his father to raise the price of ice from 5 cents to 15 cents, as his competitors had done years before. Spurred on by Joey's business acumen, the Lomangino company began to thrive. By this time Joey was 16, her family was well off, and the future looked bright.
Then, on a hot day in June 1947, fate dealt him a blow that crushed family hopes. That day, when school was over, Joey ran home to change to help her father at work. Joey was driving his father's three-ton coal truck, and noticed that the left rear tire needed air. He then removed the tire to a nearby service station. "I had both knees on the tire," Joey recalls. "I was checking the air pressure and looking at the tire at that moment." Around that block, Charlie Lomangino, Joey's father, heard an explosion, but didn't mind it and went back to work. Today, a small deep scar is clearly visible on his face, that scar shows where the rim hit Joey when the tire burst. The bones of his lower forehead had been crushed and fractured, the nerves of smell and eyes cut, removing the power of smell and sight to Joey. He was in a coma for three weeks before waking up precisely on July 16 (Our Lady of Carmel) to total darkness.
The accident threw the family into poverty. There was no more ice and coal. Over time, he got a job on the quay and on average earned $ 1,200 a year. Charlie's children often lived on the charity of their neighbors. Joey remembers those days, actually seven long years of misery. Looking for a word that is neither "bitter" or "angry", Joey remembers that he was very sad. "It was a great sadness. I felt like I was trying to achieve something (financial security for her family), and then all of a sudden it all disappeared. I was sad. I was confused and sad.
Religion was not a comfort to him. Joey recalls: "I was not surrendered to God because I simply did not understand why people suffered. My parents were good people and they suffered so much. This was a sad mystery I accepted without anger, but without trying to understand either."
In 1949 Father Alfred Varrialle of St. Bernadette Parish in Brooklyn took Joey's arm to the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. In three years Joey earned a high school diploma as an honor student and a scholarship to St. John's University.
With Dagmar, his guide dog, by his side, Joey spent at St. John's for a year. Then, in 1954, the family fortune changed. David R. Filderman, a Brooklyn businessman, decided to lend Joey some money to take over a now-defunct sanitation company based in Farmingdale, Long Island. Joey got into business and after a year, he and his brothers had canceled their debt to Filderman.
In 1961, Joey Lomangino, 31, was financially successful and overworked. Under the doctor's orders, he traveled on vacation to Europe. He could not imagine that this morning when he boarded the plane for Europe, it would be the most important step of his life.
Joey clearly remembers that at that time he was simply not interested in the least - when his uncle from Bari, Italy, suggested they go to San Giovanni Rotondo in Foggia from northern Italy. "Joey, you are coming, aren't you? He is the pride of all Italy. You have to come see our holy priest." After much insistence, the two men made their way to the road, arriving in time for the 5 am Mass. , Mass that was celebrated by the famous stigmatized priest, Padre Pio. After the end of the Mass, Joey knelt for the blessing of the Priest. When he (Padre Pio) came to Joey, Padre Pio called him by name, touched his face, and blessed him. That was all.
And that was all, Joey had begun to experience a new phase in his life since coming to Rotondo. For two years Joey could not forget the presence of Padre Pio in his soul. By going to Foggia, Joey made a small opening in her heart to God. The work of inner transformation had begun. The Mass and the Sacraments were still only occasional events in Joey's life, but now he was facing the turmoil of conversion. He began to have lights of understanding - about the blindness and difficulties of the family that always weighed so heavily on him. He began to understand much by the grace of God that until then he could not understand.
When Joey returned to Italy in 1963, he specifically wanted to be back in the presence of that holy man, whose simple blessing had apparently done so many wonders in his soul. On the third day of his second visit to Rotondo, Joey knelt for confession. There was no division between him and Padre Pio, who grabbed his wrist and said, "Joey, confess to yourself." Stunned by this face-to-face meeting, Joey could not speak immediately. The priest said again, "Joey confesses to yourself."
So Joey started and said:
"Bless me, Father because I have sinned" ... but the priest interrupted him again.
"Joey, you're angry, aren't you?"
"No, Father, I work a lot, so I'm tired ..."
No, no, Joey, you're angry, aren't you? "
Since Joey was trying to find words to begin with, Father Pio began by telling him his sins in English. Joey recalls: "This is how this Italian priest began:" Joey, did you remember that day one night at a bar, a girl named Barbara, and the sin you committed? 'I said,' Yes, so that's when he started to describe in full detail, a list in English, with dates, names, named all the sins I had committed and the places I was when I had sinned. At that moment, I was a piece of water. "
Then at the end he said to me, "Joey, are you sorry?" I said, 'Yes, Father, I am.' Then Father Pius raised his hand in the air and said, '' I call Jesus and Mary to you. '' I said, 'To me? The priest calls Jesus and Mary to me? "He said, 'Yes'. When Padre Pio gave me the acquittal, my eyes began to roll in my head. I started rubbing my face, and my head kept going round and round and round. I felt something was happening to me, but I didn't know what it was. Suddenly my head was clear. Then Padre Pio touched my lips, kissed the wound on his hand, touched me on the cheek, and said, "Joey, a little patience, a little courage and everything goes." go well. "
"I was 33, but I felt like I was 16. I had a firm purpose of amendment. I was saddened by all the sins I have committed in my entire life. I felt so good and so clean that I just wanted to be alone. And since then, since February 16, 1963, I don't suffer, nor am I bothered anymore.
A few days later, Joey, along with 50 other men, was waiting outside the Rotondo cloister for Padre Pio. Suddenly Joey threw up his arms and fell backward to protect himself from what he thought in his darkness. it would be a blast coming at you. Suddenly Padre Pio was right next to him. "He touched me on the bridge of my nose." "Joey, don't be afraid." Although his olfactory nerve was damaged and cut 16 years ago due to the accident, Joey had at that moment regained his sense of smell.
Joey's friend, who had accompanied him to San Giovanni, had told him that after a week or so, they would go to Garabandal. Joey knew little of the apparitions at that time. He just wanted to be near Padre Pio. He convinced his friend to accept any decision that Padre Pio would make on this issue.
Joey then posed the question:
"Father, is it true that the Virgin Mary is appearing to four girls in Spain?" Padre Pio's answer was: "Yes." But Joey asked another question: "Dad, should we go to Garabandal?" The answer once again was simply, "Yes, why not?"
As soon as the American blind man left San Giovanni Rotondo, where he had begun to understand the meaning of his life. In February 1963, the time God chose for Joey Lomangino to enter Garabandal's events unfolded.
Joey recalls his first night in the mountain village: "The temperature was very low, and so bad both indoors and out. The houses were made of stone, there was no running water, in fact there was no kind of water. toilets, there was no heat, lighting was only occasional, there was a small wood-burning stove for cooking and small beds with straw mattresses. "
In bed, Joey barely slept that night from the cold, even though he was dressed in all his clothes. Either way, he had a lot to think about - the miraculous recovery of his sense of smell through Padre Pio, the trip to San Giovanni, the incredible things he and his friend Mario had accomplished, the same thing that had accompanied him. Italy and now Garabandal.
In Madrid, they spent many hours talking with people familiar with the events of Garabandal. Among them was the priest. Ramon Andreu, brother of the Jesuit Father, Father Luís Andreu, to whom the Virgin Mary had involved him in a special way in the Garabandal events. Father Ramon, also a Jesuit, had witnessed the ecstatic girls several times, and it all impressed Joey.
In fact, Joey entered Garabandal as a believer. Why not? Father Pio thought he said yes when he answered the question if the Virgin was appearing in Garabandal. And then there was the testimony of Father Ramon and the others in Madrid.
Within a few days Joey met the young visionary, Conchita. He was touched by his simplicity and sincerity, his dedication to prayer and the veracity of his visions.
She gave him a card from a saint and had written him a message there. The message was as follows:
"We have to make a lot of sacrifices and penance and we have to make a lot of visits to the Blessed Sacrament. But first we have to be very good and if we don't do that there will be a punishment. The cup is filling and if we don't change we will receive a great punishment.
"Will you do it? I don't know your name, but do it and get others to do it too."
Word by word, he began to spread the appearance of the Virgin Mary in Spain. People started phoning him to show the slides. Therefore, the weekends were no longer enough for this apostolate. He then began scheduling meetings for a day or two during the week, and since his friend Mario was not always available, Joey recruited other friends who were happy to be able to help him, as they were also convinced about the need to make known the message of Our Lady given in Garabandal.
Immediately after his first return to Garabandal, he began attending Mass and communion daily. It was because of this daily free intake that opened her eyes more and more. He saw the need - and the fruits - that prayer could bring. He began asking people to join him and they always prayed first, three Hail Marys on the slides. Very soon, the three prayers became five decades of the Rosary. Now, says Joey, there was a need not only for him but for those who heard Our Lady's Message. He saw that when people returned to the sacraments after long absences, their lives changed because they had begun to pray.
He has the conviction that today is the chief of his apostolate: God's grace only converts and upholds, true wisdom, true peace, the ability to endure - these things can only be obtained through grace through prayer. .
Unless specifically requested, Joey never mentions the prophecy about the eyes. But he believes, without reservation, that one day he will see. The Virgin Mary said yes. How did this prophecy come about? There are some details in this part of the story, more than is generally known.
A few months after the accident (June 27, 1947) that blinded him, Joey was sleeping at home in Brooklyn. He shared a room with his three brothers. Joey's bed was the one farthest from the door. He woke up with a voice that seemed to come from the hallway:
Joey wanna see it again?
Then you have to pray. You have to recite 17 Hail Marys, seven acts of contrition, five Our Fathers, three times a day.
When are you coming back?
As for this voice, Joey is emphatic: "I've never had visions, phrases or any of these things. I'm just normal. But God knows what it takes to move me. This thing that happened to me was real and I know it, and never I will believe that I dreamed or imagined.
Many years have passed and, as Joey says, "Nothing happened." But the reality is that he continued to say the prayers faithfully three times a day.
Seventeen years later, in Garabandal, Conchita told him the same. He also told her about his desire to establish a home for the abandoned and afflicted, a project he had devised as a result of having participated in several pilgrimages of the sick at the St. Anne de Beaupre Sanctuary in Canada. Conchita told Joey that she would talk to the Virgin Mary about him. Joey left Garabandal 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 that the message the Virgin gave me to you today in the pines ... She told me that the voice you heard was hers and that you will see the day of the future miracle. She also told me that the House of Charity you will establish in New York will bring great glory to God.
It took a while for the prophecy to come true, "" But the only thing that made me very happy right away was the confirmation of the voice. God rewarded faith in his own wonderful way. "As for the" House of Charity, "Joey believes the Virgin refers to his New York downtown Garabandal." Everything we do here, "said Joey," is for the glory of God. "
In those early years, Joey only showed pictures and slides. But around him, and largely through him, the organization came to be known as Our Lady of Garabandal's New York Center, which has taken shape over time. Joey continued to correspond with Conchita and Father Laffineur, the late French priest who was one of the pioneers in Garabandal's cause throughout Europe. As new information came from abroad (the apparitions were still ongoing at that time), Joey spread this information in "newsletter" form to the growing number of people listening to Joey's conferences. The number of people who listened to their conferences was 20,000-30,000 in a month, and then around 80,000 in 1970.
"Mary runs after us because we are in trouble. She sees that we are in danger of losing our souls."
In his apostolate, Joey grew up and became convinced that Garabandal is the God who speaks to a world in crisis. He said. "The time Our Lady gives us to spread her message is an indication of how vital it is."It is driven by an urgency to reach people everywhere before time runs out.
How old was he when he visited Ireland? Until 1977, it was eight years. Joey recalls that it was Charles Horan, a retired California gentleman who was the first to invite him to visit Ireland. In one of Dublin's largest halls on a Sunday, there were two conferences. More than 1,300 people came to hear about Joey Padre Pio and Garabandal. The Irishman took the blind to their hearts and proved to be the beginning of a beautiful and rewarding experience that would lead to a strong Irish movement over Garabandal.
It was Richard Stanley and his young wife, Maura, who finally moved on to building a Garabandal Center. He later made his trip to England and Scotland, working closely with the New York Garabandal Center. Stanleys became the first to reproduce GARABANDAL magazine abroad. Joey liked Ireland: its laughter, its simplicity, and most of all its holiness and deep faith.
Finally, the tickets were in order, and Joey was ready for the last lap of a long journey. First they went to Hong Kong, where a happy and fruitful five-day conference trip took place there. Then there was the second step to India. Joey had been there two years ago when he was directed by Father Paul Van Wynesberghe, S.J. and Fr. Francisco Benac, S.J.
On this trip he was received by the ambassador of Mary, by cardinals, bishops and priests. Only in third world countries was he experiencing such an overwhelming reception and witnessing the great Marian devotion in a public way. Seventeen thousand people were present when Cardinal Valerian Gracias welcomed Joey and spoke of Garabandal, placing him in a similar category to that of Lourdes and Fatima. With Father Benac as the spearhead in India, one of the most effective Garabandal centers has sprung up around the world.
Through "New Horizons", a Joey fund, a steady stream of literature, books, movies, magazines, rosaries, scapulars traveled to India, Burma and Pakistan - all to spread Garabandal's message.
Joey told his friends at home that religious devotion and the prayer life seem to be stronger in those places that are simpler, poorer, and humbler. He found the same during his stay in Nigeria.
His trip had been very successful. Hundreds of people came from remote regions of the African country to hear the Message of Our Lady and their enthusiasm would be sustained over the following years.
But now, Joey had to go home to Lindenhurst, Long Island. The year 1977 was hard for Joey. His hectic travel schedule was affecting his health and became aware that he was losing his hearing. There were a shortage of Center volunteers to help with the work of their apostolate and their thriving business was in the process of being reorganized. Joey was disturbed by what was happening. But in the midst of all this, he was preparing for one of the greatest moments of his life.
Joey was getting married! How did this happen? Where did he have time for such? Again God intervened in Joey's life in a very special way, in an extraordinary way. This was a "heaven made" wedding, and he knew it.
Earlier this year, Joey had received a signal. He did not know exactly what this meant, he had received these signals before. As he walked into his city office and each day, he told his sister, Frances, several times that the name "Luther" and "Michigan" was always coming to mind. Earlier, when a particular name came with him to his mind, he prayed for that person.
Weeks passed and this name continued to appear in your mind. "But," Joey recalls, "the person didn't show up."
It was a typical summer night in July 1977. Joey began these Garabandalist tours while there were people accompanying him to Garabandal. This time also included some Marian shrines. Since Joey had not had time to consult the passenger list, his secretary, Rosemarie Melunchuk, introduced him, indicating each passenger, and in turn, mentioning the state from which they came. Halfway near the Pan Am conference room, Joey heard, "This is Maria Luther and her daughter, Marilynn from Michigan."
There it is, thought Joey, Luther, and Michigan! But he was too tired to talk, so he decided that later, after resting, he would analyze the situation.
"Marilynn Luther came from Detroit, Michigan, the second oldest of the sons of Maurice and Luther Mary. Mr. Luther died in 1960 of cancer at the age of 51, leaving his wife with her ten children (two were babies with diapers and several Marilynn, now 37, had an excellent position at General Motors Corporation and lived at home with his family. This was his first pilgrimage, although he had previously traveled. His mother had been a fervent promoter Garabandal since 1964 and has wanted to visit Garabandal, particularly with Joey's pilgrimage.When Marilynn learned of her mother's wish, she decided to sell her car and bring her mother on the trip.
That made Marilynn have her first date with Joey Lomangino.
When the plane landed in France, Joey knew this would be an excellent pilgrimage. All the places he loved were included: the Sanctuary of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, St. Bernadette in Nevers, Lourdes, Garabandal and Fatima.
It was in Lourdes that Joey decided to follow "Luther and Michigan." He immediately liked Maria Luther. She was an Irish widow mother (her maiden name was Lynch). A few days later she thought "Suddenly, I knew I was looking at my wife." ... I knew I would share the rest of my life with her . I said, "Marilynn, I want to marry you!"
Marilynn told Joey that she wanted to make her decision in her own home. She wanted to make sure that this was God's will. "
Arriving home, Marilynn went to her room and soon fell asleep. About 2:00 she woke up. All the things Joey had said were inside her head. He reached under the pillow and took out his rosary. He prayed and fell asleep again.
Gardening was Marilynn's favorite pastime. The courtyard was full of flowers, there was a shrine of Our Lady, with nine pines. Marilynn began to dream. She found herself staring at a beautiful garden, all the flowers were in bloom. As she watched such a scenario, saw a gardener, he was transparent - she could see the colors of the flowers, right through his body. He began to work around a flower, digging very delicately. It was an Easter lily with a white flower on top .... He set the lily on the ground that was already prepared, stroked the earth safely around it and disappeared. "The last thing I remember about the dream," said Marilynn, "was the lily in the garden." When Marilynn awoke, she knew without a doubt that it was God's will for her to marry Joey and that everything would work out smoothly.
She called Joey to tell him that she would marry him. They set a date and were married on December 8, 1977 - a special day for them, and for Our Lady - Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
After his marriage, Joey took his wife along with him to complete his pre-set travel schedule. They worked together at Joey's office, and gave several conferences in many parts of the United States.
In May 1978, they traveled to Ireland, England and Scotland, and were warmly welcomed at numerous meetings and lectures.
Great preparations and much prayer preceded the First International Garabandal Congress held in Lourdes in August 1978. Twenty-six countries were represented and Joey and Marilynn scheduled speakers for this event. The results of the Congress opened a new phase of spreading the message.
The activities of the New York Center required urgent attention from Joey. As early as 1976 he had been suggested by Joey's spiritual counselor that he should:
Channel your energies in your international correspondence to establish new centers around the world.
Keep in close contact with promoters.
Innovate Garabandal and improve circulation But these changes would take time to implement. July 16, 1978, was the last of Joey's public conferences. Becoming an active and involved International Director, he found himself increasingly behind the table. Each issue of GARABANDAL Magazine, reports on the work, and through Joey's constant attention, the message continued to spread.
At home, Joey's joy was complete with the birth of her two children. Joseph Michael, born May 18, 1979, and John Paul, born September 17, 1981. His boys accompanied their father for special occasions.
Today, Joey's responsibility to rebuild his business and provide sustainability for his family no longer gave him the time to travel as he used to. But their efforts were well-directed to nurture the seeds and promote Garabandal's work at the international level.
Occasionally, long trips are taken to create new centers. One of them in February 1982, when Joey flew to the other side of the world, New Zealand. He was welcomed by the clergy and the laity, and the hall was crowded on both days to hear Garabandal's speakers.
In December of that year, Joey made a family pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico, to honor the Mother of God, and they could see firsthand the miraculous image of the Virgin of Juan Diego.
In the fall of 1980, the British Broadcasting Corporation, at the insistence of the Garabandal London Center and with Joey's support and encouragement, produced a documentary about Garabandal. The result was an award-winning thirty-two minute movie that has been shown three times by the BBC in the UK and also on national television in New Zealand. Private exhibitions have been held in the United States and other countries.
In Australia, things were not paralyzed either. Some films were made towards the promotion of Garabandal.
In February 1985, Joey attended the Australian Garabandal Conference. It was held in Canberra, the capital, and participants came from all over Australia, Papua New Guinea and Tonga in the South Pacific.
This has been Joey's story, an apostolate life, an example life for each of us. Through suffering He came to God. At the moment he is about 80 years old and still waiting for the great moment of his life, to see the miracle that will one day take place at the "pins" in Garabandal.