Saturday, September 13, 2008

400th Anniversary of Our Lady's Apparition in Šiluva

In the 1500's, caught up in the momentum of the Protestant Reformation, the owner of the church property in Siluva became a Lutheran. At this time many Catholic churches were closed and confiscated. A parish priest at Siluva buried an iron chest with documents and sacred items.

In the year 1608 the Virgin Mary revealed herself to young shepherds; a girl with flowing hair holding a baby in her arms and weeping. The children ran to the Calvin catechist to tell him what they had seen. The catechist and the rector followed the children to the site where she revealed herself to them as well. They asked her why she was weeping. She replied, "I am weeping because people used to worship my son in this place, but now they just plow and sow."

The news of this event spread. The faithful were convinced of the authenticity of the apparition. Catholics realized that they needed to have possession of the documents that would help them reclaim their church. An old blind man mentioned that he knew something about them, recounting the story of the church in Siluva. He led Father Kazakevicius, a priest charged with investigating the apparation, to the rock where Our Lady had appeared. The old man's blindness was cured and the iron chest buried by the priest of Siluva was exhumed.

The restoration of sight to this blind man was the first of many miracles and healings associated with this holy place.

Please join us on Sunday in another holy place as we pray for Our Lady to help us in our darkest hours as she helped the faithful at Siluva. We will be gathering at 10:30 AM across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral to pray, to honor the apparition at Siluva and to share the story of Siluva with anyone who will listen. At 1:00 PM we will gather in front of Our Lady of Vilnius church and pray that it will once more be a home for Our Lady and a place where the faithful gather for Eucharistic celebration. Please join us in spirit and prayer if you cannot attend.

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