A sample display of Blessed Carlo Acutis’ exhibit of Marian apparitions and shrines came to life at St. James Parish in Lititz on May 9, as parishioners perused nearly 50 panels on the Blessed Mother at the conclusion of a May Crowning.
Young women in the parish’s Confirmation class dressed as Mary to bring to life eight different apparitions, illuminating various ways in which Our Lady has appeared to her children throughout the world.
The event, set up in the parish hall, allowed parishioners to take a self-guided walk through the rows of panels, where they encountered the student re-enactors at various places along the way.
Dressed as Our Lady of Zaragoza, Olivia Hernandez told parishioners about the Blessed Mother’s appearance to the Apostle James the Greater while he was proclaiming the Gospel in Spain and concerned that his mission would be a failure. He built a chapel at the site, the first one in honor of Our Lady.
“I wanted to participate in this event and learn more about Mary and how often she’s appeared to people throughout history,” Olivia told The Catholic Witness. “I selected to dress as Our Lady of Zaragoza because it was Mary’s first appearance, in 40 AD.”
“I hope people know that Our Lady cares about them, and that she comes to people to let them know that they’re loved and she cares for them as a Mother,” she said. “You can always pray to her, and she’ll make you feel secure.”
Cloaked in a blue mantle adorned with stars, Azalea Segura portrayed Our Lady of Guadalupe, recounting the Blessed Mother’s appearances to Juan Diego in 1531.
“This gave me an opportunity to learn about Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared five times to Juan Diego, and her image was on his tilma to convince the local bishop to build a church, to spread the faith,” Azalea said.
“It has been interesting to learn about the apparitions,” she said. I hope people here tonight learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe, but also how Mary comes to people around the world in many cultures.”
Representations in addition to Our Lady of Zaragoza and Our Lady of Guadalupe were Our Lady of La Salette, Our Lady of La Vang and Our Lady of Fatima, as well as the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Aylesford, Paris and Betharram.
The “Meet Mary” experience was the first of its kind at St. James, which employed the event as a means of promoting interest in bringing Blessed Carlos Acutis’ full display of Marian apparitions and shrines to the parish this fall.
Learn more about Blessed Carlo’s display of apparitions at Carlo Acutis The pleas of our lady, apparitions and shrines to the Virgin Mary in the world exhibition.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness