A special predilection for priests
The visit of priests to Garabandal during the time of the apparitions was inevitable, in particular the constant visit of Father Valentim Marichalar, a non-resident parish priest, who in addition to Garabandal also ministered in the neighboring village of Cosio.
The day after the apparitions, Father Valentim Marichalar went up to the "pins " to question the children about the rumors that he himself had heard about the events that occurred there the day before. He was taking care of his responsibility, as he was parish priest in this community. That day, he met three of the four visionary girls, Conchita, Mari-Loli and Jacinta, on the way from their homes to the local school and Mari-Cruz already at his home. He made a suggestion: that the next time they had the apparition, they would ask what was the Angel's name and the reason for his coming. The suggestion was welcomed by the sighting girls. These questions were asked of the Angel himself on June 21th, 1961 (the Angel's first appearance was on June 18th, 1961) in obedience to the parish priest Valentine Marichalar. However, Father Valentim Marichalar had to wait some more time before he learned about the Angel's true identity. The name was only known on the day that Our Lady first appeared and She revealed her name, her name was Angel S. Miguel. The four visionary girls came to speak with Our Lady about Father Valentine Marichalar who described him as being a very good priest.
Many other priests were also involved in the events of Garabandal. Believing in these events favorably were: the brothers Andreu, Father Luís and Father Ramon, Father José Garcia de la Riva, as well as the presence of many theologians who recorded what they observed in Garabandal. There were also priests who showed an unfavorable opinion, as was the case of Father Luís Odriozolla, Father Francisco Pajares, among others. In general, believers or non-believers had a common point, both showed affection, affection and respect for the events that occurred there.
Girls were taught by their parents to always have great respect for Priests. In the apparition of August 29th, 1961. Conchita was very impressed with the disturbing information that Our Lady had transmitted to her in relation to the Priests. Conchita, astonished by such information, exclaimed as follows: "Aren't the priests all good?" The following day, Conchita in ecstasy, still with admiration on the subject, returned to talk about the same to Our Lady: "I thought that all Jesuits were good. "
Five years later, speaking to Sister Maria Nieves Garcia at the boarding school in Burgos, she remembered this ecstasy again and said: "Before Our Lady spoke to me about this subject, I thought that the Fathers were all good. it happened that they also committed sins! At first I was friends with everyone, but noticing that my confidence was misinterpreted by some, I then changed my attitude. "
Involvement of Priests
At the beginning of these events, the visionary girls showed a special predilection for Priests and religious. Often, they were in the habit of counting the number of Priests who arrived in the village, observing their religious habits. In many of their ecstasies, they spoke of the Priests with Our Lady. If asked, "Whoever wanted more to come to their village," they almost always replied, "Priests."
The highest point that demonstrated all this high affection and affection for the Priests was particularly evident during two ecstasies, and this occurred some time before Conchita was aware of the state of the souls of some Priests. These ecstasies occurred on 8 and 16 August 1961. Brothers Priests Luís and Ramon Andreu, followed all these events very closely and took some very detailed notes from them. They became familiar with the visionary girls who accepted them without any doubt or fear.
In the second ecstasy of August 8, 1961, Father Luís Andreu was with the girls when he himself was ecstatic. While he was in a state of ecstasy, he saw directly the image of Our Lady and the future miracle that will one day occur in Garabandal with the aim of convincing the world about its authenticity. Apparently the seer girls were unaware of this future miracle, until September 5, 1962 when Conchita mentioned the occurrence of a miracle in addition to the "little miracle" (miracle of the visible host) that occurred in the same year from 18th to 19th July. Father Valentim Marichalar was informed about this miracle, around the 24th of September of that year.
Father Luís Andreu, having seen the future miracle, exclaimed three times: "Miracle". The visionary girls were amazed by the fact that they saw him in his Vision space, since one of the characteristics of ecstasies was the total absence of the space of the world that surrounded them. They only had the vision of Our Lady and the Angel. This time, there was also the inclusion of Father Luís Andreu in his ecstasy. This particular event did not occur with anyone else, nor like any other Priest, only with Father Luís Andreu.
In the early hours of the following day, during the journey home he made with some of his friends, Father Luís Andreu died suddenly. His brother, Father Ramon, despite having known about the joy that infected Father Luís shortly before his death, his death nevertheless brought him a great depression. Father Luís Andreu died on August 8, 1961. On their return to Garabandal, on August 14, the four visionary girls went to meet Father Ramon and showed him all their sadness regarding the news of the death of their brother . Then they informed Father Ramon himself that Our Lady spoke to them about this incident as well.
Before Father Ramon assimilated this information that had been communicated by the visionary girls, he told them that he had heard them say during this ecstasy, that they would speak to Father Luís Andreu again, but later. For Father Ramon, it was heartbreaking news. He had no expectations and no conviction that this was possible, since his brother had already passed away. At that moment, he was sure that the girls suffered from a behavior of self-suggestion due to the sudden death of his brother Luís.
The continuation of this affection for the priests took place in the ecstasy of August 16, 1961, in which the late Father Luís was able to speak with the visionary girls, although he himself was not visible to them. This occurred exactly eight days after his death. He spoke to the girls, using words in French, English and German; he also taught them the Ave Maria in Greek; and also conveyed a private message to his brother Ramon. This phenomenon was repeated a few times.
The priests recognition
As the events unfolded, the girls acquired the ability to recognize the priests who arrived in the village of Garabandal, dressed in civilian clothes, with the aim of not being recognized. It seems that the first time this occurred was during the ecstasy of Mari-Cruz in August, between the 17th and 28th of that month. In this ecstasy, she received information from the Vision that on that day a Dominican priest who was dressed in civilian clothes was present in Garabandal. A continuation of this extraordinary capacity took place in the first ecstasy of July 27, 1961, when the girls announced how the crowd should organize to be witnesses of the ecstasy that would take place that day. Included in these instructions they mentioned "the sisters".
Father Valentim Marichalar, parish priest of Garabandal, had no knowledge of the presence of nuns in the village that day, and asked Father Ramon about the matter, that like him he also had no knowledge of the presence of nuns in the village. But, during the ecstasy, after the visionary girls had gone up to the pins, the religious sisters appeared in the place where the apparitions took place. In relation to this faculty of recognizing priests dressed as civilians, there are some considerations in this regard, on the part of Father Ramon:
"The ability that these girls had in obtaining hidden and hidden information among the crowd present, was recognized on several occasions. However, this ability to find out was more striking with regard to the identification of priests. They often said that priests they were in a certain place, when most people did not suspect anything, or that there were many more priests present in the village, much more than they seemed to exist, due to their civilian attire. "
It must be emphasized that all this happened, not because of the psychic abilities of the girls. On a certain date in August 1961, during an ecstasy by Mari-Cruz, it was Our Lady who informed her of the disguise of a Dominican priest who was present among the crowd, a fact that was verified by a spectator to whom the priest came then to reveal. In October of that same year, Jacinta was informed by Our Lady that there was a priest among the crowd to whom Jacinta had to give him three signs of clarity to confirm that he was indeed a true priest, because he had doubts about the validation of the his priesthood and Jacinta eventually found him. Conchita's godmother Maximina witnessed an ecstasy in which five priests disguised as civilians were found by Conchita. She also testified that even in ecstasy, the girls continued to show a high respect for the priests and while walking in ecstasy they offered them the crucifixes to be kissed, kneeling before the priests first. In June 1962, a Carmelite priest and another Passionist were present during Conchita's ecstasy, both kneeling in awe. Conchita got close to them and very gently managed to get them up and on their feet. Our Lady also showed a high esteem for priests.
Many other priests have received particular attention in matters of conscience. After the great grace received by Father Luís Andreu in August 1961, it was later on 14 October 1961 that his brother Ramon Andreu was also joked. On that day, Father Ramon Andreu was in Garabandal, in bed and in great pain, which seemed to indicate a possible fracture in the hip region. The pain was so great that he himself could not get up and stand. At 3:30 in the morning, Jacinta arrives in ecstasy at the house where Father Ramon was, offering him a crucifix to kiss him. At the same time, she informed him personally that he was cured. His pain was gone immediately. Later, Father Ramon made a mental request to Jacinta to offer the cross to Maximo Forschler, a non-Catholic friend who had brought him to Garabandal. He (Maximo Forschler) was located behind Jacinta. Jacinta immediately turns around and, without looking, gives the crucifix to Maximo Forschler to kiss him.
Three days later, two priests dressed in civilian clothing led a group of boys from Asturias to San Sebastian de Garabandal. When Conchita seemed to be approaching them, as a way of avoiding her, they climbed a series of steps on an outside staircase that led to the entrance to one of the houses in the village. Conchita nonetheless, he continued to insist on them, offering them the crucifix to kiss him. Both refused, but one was quite undecided. When Conchita was coming down the stairs, at that moment he mentally requested a request: that if this was really of a supernatural origin, that Conchita should go back to him and that he would stop being ecstatic. Abruptly, Conchita turned back, went back up the steps, made the sign of the cross over him, leaving after the state of ecstasy in which he found himself.
Conchita was now in her normal state, and was returning to her home when suddenly she was ecstatic again. Already ecstatic, Conchita again confronted that same priest, offering him the crucifix for him to kiss, making the cross sign over him again. He had recently made a second request, mentally, if Conchita's supernaturality knew he was a priest, then let her go back to him and do everything she had done the first time. This showed the patient love that Our Lady showed to the priests. Our Lady also showed a high interest in assisting and helping priests who had spiritual questions.
Let's talk about one more detail, before we really talk about the real causes of this type of recognition. On October 18, 1961, the first message was to be transmitted at 10:00 am, in front of Garabandal Church. Members of the diocesan commission, decided that the announcement would have to take place on the "pins" and not next to the Church's portico. Father Ramon was among the crowd that went up at that moment to the "pins". Halfway through the walk, he experienced tremendous dismay and doubt about it all. It seemed that he had entered a serious moral crisis. He was heartbroken and thought, "What am I doing here? These kids are just sick kids and this is all pathetic comedy."
That day the weather was quite bad, but the message was extremely simple:
"We have to make more sacrifices, do more penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament often. But first, we have to be good. If we don't, a punishment will fall on us. The cup is almost full, and if we don't change, a big punishment will fall on us. "
This proclamation of the simple message in no way altered his mood. After a while, he was taken to Mari-Loli's house. Upon arriving at his home, Mari-Loli turned to Father Ramon informing him that Our Lady made him known that he was not believing, saying:
"The priest doubts everything, and suffers a lot. Call him and tell him not to doubt any more ... tell him that when he went up he was happy and when he went down he was sad."
Loli also told Father Ramon that Our Lady spoke to Conchita for some time about him. Upon learning of this, he immediately went to Conchita's house, where Conchita's mother, Aniceta, gave permission for him to speak with his daughter. Conchita had already retired to her room together with her cousin Luciuca. Conchita told him that Our Lady had talked a lot about him. She (Conchita), repeated precisely the same phrases that Mari-Loli had spoken before. Then he reported all the details he had thought about throughout the day and indicated the exact place where he had all doubts. Our Lady told him that all this happened so that in the future, when thinking about it, he would not doubt again.
How many more episodes will we have to speak to prove that Our Lady wants the happiness of priests to be present in Her Immaculate heart? How many more episodes will we have to give to prove the predilection of Our Lady by the Priests in the events that happened in Garabandal?
An eternal mark
In December 1965, a Vatican II decree concerning the ministry and the lives of priests was issued. In chapter 1, paragraph 2, the following is noted:
"The ministry of priests, while united to the episcopal Order, participates in the authority with which Christ himself builds, sanctifies and governs his body. Therefore, the priesthood of priests, assuming, of course, the sacraments of Christian initiation, is, nevertheless, conferred through a special sacrament, by virtue of which the priests are marked with a particular character and, in this way, configured to Christ the priest, in such a way that they can act in the name of Christ the head. "
In this paragraph we can find the secret, concerning Our Lady's success in finding priests who were unknown among the crowd. In this paragraph we also find the real reason for His special predilection for priests. The sacrament that institutes the Priesthood, marks the souls of priests with an eternal and permanent spiritual mark that can never be erased. It is a kind of light bar that can be seen regardless of all conditions. The permanent brilliance is due to the grace of God, brilliant, persuasive and permanent.
As Our Lady belongs to this spiritual world, in which she is queen, then She is aware of the presence of that light in the souls of the priests who are immersed in the darkness of this world, so it is not difficult for Her to verify all this. Night and day, day in, day out, this mark identifies the priest and through this Sacrament the grace of the infinite God rests upon them.
As this grace involves the priest, he becomes configured in Christ. As we know, the whole life of Our Lady was concentrated in the life of Jesus Christ; she continually exercised the role of mother in relation to her son Jesus, whom she loved so much. Is it not so natural that Our Lady has special devotion to priests, since they are configured in Jesus Christ?
How close was Father Luís Andreu to the image of Christ, due to the fact that he obtained such high grace while on earth, and also because he returned to be with the visionary girls eight days after his death? Although his presence was not visible, he demonstrated his presence through his voice and the instructions he gave to the girls, and the appeals he gave to his brother Ramon Andreu.
Our Lady showed in Garabandal the special predilection she had for priests due to the sacramental character that they had. They were not able to hide their spiritual luminescence that is in conformity with the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Even though they are in doubt and fear, that bright mark that was above them, made it possible for Her to come to their aid. Thus she comes to assist all those who want to assimilate and set an example of the teachings of the Christian faith, whose foundation is Jesus Christ, our Messiah and also for all those who want to follow the humility and holiness of Christ, His son.
Translated by the Garabandal Apostolate- Portugal