‘Crying’ Mary draws crowds

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Some carry rosary beads, others flowers and cameras. Dozens of the faithful are coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of the city for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: A statue of the Virgin Mary that has begun “crying” a substance that looks like blood. The first sign of the tears came more than a week ago, when a priest at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church spotted a stain on the statue’s face and wiped it away. Before Mass on Nov. 20, people again noticed a reddish substance streaming from the eyes of the white concrete statue outside the small church, said Ky Truong, 56, a parishioner who said he was one of the witnesses. Since then, Truong said he has been at the church day and night. He is so emotional he is unable to work at his job as a general contractor. He believes the tears are a sign. “There’s a big event in the future – earthquake, flood, a disease,” Truong said. “We’re very sad.” On Saturday, tables in front of the fenced-in statue were jammed with rows of potted plants, bouquets of roses and candles. People sat silently praying on fold-up chairs set up in the parking lot, while others sang Vietnamese Catholic hymns or hugged their children. An elderly woman in a wheelchair wept near the front of the crowd. Red liquid trailed from the side of Mary’s left eye, streaming about halfway down the robe made of concrete. Many drove long distances to see the statue. “I think that it’s incredible. It’s a miracle. Why is she doing it? Is it something bothering her?” asked Maria Vasquez, 35, who drove with her parents and three children from Stockton, about 50 miles south of Sacramento. Thousands of such incidents are reported around the world each year, involving blood, water or oil, though many turn out to be hoaxes or natural phenomena. The Diocese of Sacramento has so far not commented on the statue, and the two priests affiliated with the church did not return a telephone message left at their rectory from The Associated Press on Saturday. The Rev. James Murphy, deacon of the diocese’s mother church, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, said church leaders are always skeptical at first of such incidents. “For people individually seeing things through the eyes of faith, something like this can be meaningful. As for whether it is supernatural or a miracle, normally these incidences are not. Miracles are possible, of course,” Murphy said. “The bishop is just waiting and seeing what happens. They will be moving very slowly.” Trinh Tong, 20, of San Jose also was skeptical. She is not Catholic, but came to the statue Saturday with her sister, who is Catholic. “I’m really not sure. I’m surprised,” said Tong, a chemistry major. “I’m more the chemist, the scientist.” But seeing the statue in person left no doubt for Martin Operario, 60, who drove about 100 miles from Hayward. He took photos of it to show to family and friends. “I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling,” Operario said. “Since religion is the mother of believing, then I believe.” Nuns Anna Bui and Rosa Hoang, members of the Salesian Sisters of San Francisco, also made the trek to see the statue Saturday. Whether the weeping Mary is declared a miracle or not, they said it is already doing good by awakening people to the faith and reminding people to pray. “It’s a call for us to change ourselves, to love one another,” Hoang said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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