Apparition Expert on Fatima, Evangelization

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This is the third and final part of an interview with Marian apparition expert Michael O'Neill, founder of MiracleHunter.com. (View part two.) Here, Michael continues to share his knowledge of Marian apparitions and explains how he had the opportunity to talk about his Catholic faith on two nationally televised talk shows.

When was the earliest recorded Marian apparition?
The earliest apparition is believed to have occurred in 40 A.D. in Zaragoza, Spain, to St. James the Greater. Mary had not been assumed into Heaven yet. Saint James was trying to spread the Gospel in Spain and having some trouble. Our Lady appeared to him on a pillar of jasper, encouraged him, and gave him strength to continue. So he went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the history of Spain. Mary's appearance to him was considered a bilocation. Today, if you go to Zaragoza, you can actually touch that pillar of jasper.

Which apparition do you wish more people would know about?
I find the story of Our Lady of Las Lajas (Our Lady of the Rocks) in Ipialas, Colombia, fascinating. In my opinion, it's somewhat of a "Guadalupe of Columbia." In 1754, we have this woman, Maria, and her young child who is blind and deaf. It's raining out, and they're near these canyons, and the young girl runs ahead to get out of the rain. Then she sees this vision of Mary, and she's completely healed. When the mother finds her in the canyon, there's this image of Our Lady emblazoned on the wall of rock. According to some reports, there have been scientific studies that the color penetrates the rock deeply. So like Guadalupe, it's the story of a Marian apparition and an image of Mary left behind. I think those stories are always dramatic.

As an expert in Marian apparitions, what do you have to say to those who claim that Russia has never been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917?
In addition to the Vatican assuring us that the consecration has been completed, Sr. Lucia herself has assured us that Russia has been consecrated properly. In fact, she said that Mary has told her that the consecration has been accepted by Heaven. I firmly believe Sr. Lucia will be sainted someday like her cousins St. Francisco and St. Jacinta. So, we have the testimony of a future saint. Anything is possible I suppose, but I feel very comfortable going on the assurance of Pope St. John Paul II and Sr. Lucia.

Our Lady of Fatima said, "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph." What does this mean to you?
That's about one of the greatest promises we've ever been given in our Catholic Church. I consider Fatima to be the "gold standard" of Marian apparitions. Those visions and messages have shown themselves to be authentic, both in how history has played out and how the Church has validated them and celebrated them. Hearing that promise from Mary is something that comforts me and strengthens my own Marian devotion in my daily life.

Last year, you were on "Megyn Kelly Today," and before that you were featured on "The Dr. Oz Show," talking about miracles and Marian apparitions. How did that happen?
In both instances, one of their producers reached out to me to schedule the interview. The producer for "The Dr. Oz Show" said that she had read my book Exploring the Miraculous and thought that I would be a good guest to talk about how the Catholic Church investigates medical miracles. In the case of "Megyn Kelly Today," where they did an introduction segment of me before the interview, they asked if they could follow me "hunting for miracles" in Chicago. I took them to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, in Champion, Wisconsin, which was the first approved Marian apparition site in the United States and also the site of many unexplained medical healings.

What did it mean to you to be on these nationally televised shows talking about Catholicism?
I was humbled and honored to be selected as a Catholic voice on these popular secular media platforms with such a wide reach. It seems that everyone is at least a little bit interested in miracles. Even skeptics and atheists have to have an explanation for claims of the supernatural. And many people find the topic fascinating. There seems to be room in the public sphere to talk about the topic of miracles, which is of course a great opportunity to evangelize.

— Marc Massery

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