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The Busted Halo Question Box
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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Neela Kale
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Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Our readers asked:

Did the bishop of Scottsdale, Arizona say that there was an approved sighting of Mary?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

Quick answer: no.

Backstory: in 1988, a young woman at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, Arizona, reported having received prophetic visions of and messages from the Virgin Mary. She also told her parish priest that she had had a vision of nine other young-adult parishioners who would become a circle of visionaries and locutionists (locution is when a person receives ideas or words directly from an outside spiritual source). The nine parishioners did in fact report mystical experiences of various degrees to their parish priest, and he in turn started receiving what he described as ongoing locutions from Jesus and Mary. Prayer groups at the church became extremely popular, with hundreds showing up to see the alleged visionaries in action.

The bishop, Thomas O’Brien, appointed a commission to look into the reported visions. While he did not prohibit the parishioners from having the prayer meetings or from sharing what they believed to be divine messages, he and the commission did not find their experiences to be miraculous, calling them “explainable within the range of ordinary human experience.”

 
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The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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