Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Marian image in Moline

In leafing through the online editions of the newspapers of our neighboring dioceses, I could help but stop at this gem: Marian image in Moline draws crowds

Since most of my wife's family is from the Moline (Quad Cities) area, I had to stop and give it a look. I know of at least one time in the past year when there were rumors of a Marian image at an underpass, so it gave me even more reason.

I should clarify that I have no doubts that Mary appeared at Fatima and Lourdes, and that she very well may be casting her image in Moline for the edification of the faithful -- but I can't help but have a knee-jerk chuckle reaction to these stories. I probably shouldn't have such a reaction, because the people that find the images of Mary on trees or Jesus in a tortilla are among the simplest and most earnest souls in the world (people whose childlike faith and love will probably put them in heaven far ahead of me).

And sure enough, look who found the image in this story:

The first to notice such an image was Abraham Handel, the 5-year-old son of Larry and Andrea Handel, members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in nearby Silvis.

On the night of March 17, the Handels were at the riverfront to find a piece of driftwood to adorn a box for a newly purchased pet turtle. As Larry Handel went to the river, Abraham -- who was wearing a parish sweatshirt with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he sat in the car -- exclaimed to his mother: "Look at that lady, she looks like the one on my shirt."

Mrs. Handel also saw the image on the bridge pillar, and told her husband.

"I said 'Mother Mary,'" recalled Mr. Handel to The Catholic Post on Tuesday. "I could see her, too."

The story also says that the spot has become a place of prayer and popularity:

A front page story and photo in the Moline Dispatch on Saturday, March 25, resulted in hundreds of onlookers that evening. Television coverage and more news stories followed, with others saying they, too, saw what appeared to be Mary in the oval glow.

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