Thursday, December 30, 2010

Madrid man builds cathedral from junk

Don Justo collects reject bricks and broken tiles from nearby factories and yards
It's the sheer size of the structure that first strikes you. Almost 40 metres (131ft) tall, its spires and giant dome tower over the surrounding apartment blocks in this Madrid suburb.
That's not unusual for a Spanish church. But this one is being built by an elderly man, almost single-handedly, out of junk.
Justo Gallego - or Don Justo, as he's known - embarked on his epic endeavour almost half a century ago.
Now 85 years old, he still has a huge amount to do.
Octogenarian Christmas was a rare rest day for Justo, whose one concession to age - and the weather - is to work inside during winter.
Even so, he's on site by 6am each day, sporting his red woollen skullcap. His grubby overalls are tied loosely with one red scarf; an identical one is draped - almost elegantly - around his neck.
"I do it for faith. That's clear, no?" the energetic octogenarian wonders, pausing to warm himself by an open fire.
Don Justo is neither a qualified architect or bricklayer - he is a farmer
"My mother was very pious. She taught me my faith and I love the Church. So I put everything into this."
But as a printed statement on the wall declares, Justo Gallego is "not an architect or a bricklayer" and has "no training related to construction".
Even his basic education was interrupted by the Civil War (1936-39).
"You don't need to study. You just need strength. It all comes from above," he reasons.
So is Justo's giant construction a remarkable act of faith or pure folly?
Don JustoHis church has no planning permission or formal architectural plans. All the details, Justo says, are "in my head".
“Start Quote
People have called me crazy and insulted me. But they're ignorant”
End Quote Don Justo
Partly modelled on St Peter's in the Vatican, Justo claims his construction also borrows from the White House, various castles and other Madrid churches. It's an eclectic mix.
Oil drums The vast central dome took 20 years to erect and there are two dozen more incomplete cupolas around the building.
There are cloisters, a sacristy, even a cavernous crypt. Sections of several walls have been painted gaudily to depict scenes from the Bible.
But, with no funding, the entire place is built out of recycled materials.
At 0400 every morning, Justo collects reject bricks and broken tiles from nearby factories and yards and deploys them in his church to higgledy-piggledy effect.
The columns supporting the ceiling were moulded using empty oil drums. The covering for one cupola is made from plastic food tubs, cut up.
Cathedral central dome Don Justo says his construction is partly modelled on St. Peter's in the Vatican
"People have called me crazy and insulted me. But they're ignorant," Justo says defiantly, during a guided tour of his life's work.
"When I look at what I've created, it overwhelms me and I give thanks to the Lord."
A former novice monk, Justo began work on his DIY church when he was expelled from the monastery after contracting tuberculosis. He has since invested his entire inheritance in the project.
He has one faithful helper who dropped by almost 20 years ago to visit.
"I thought the place was a ruin and Don Justo was a tramp," Angel Lopez Sanchez recalls, as he marks patterns onto glass with gold paint. His two ferrets sleep in a cage in the corner.

“Start Quote

The bricks don't meet minimum standards, either in themselves or the way they've been laid.”
End Quote Pablo Queralto Architect working for Mejorada del Campo council
'Icon of the town'
"But we spent all day chatting, he fed me chorizo and as I had a lot of spare time, I told him I'd help. He got so deep into my heart that I'm still here today and very content."
Angel estimates the window he's decorating is about the hundredth. There are around a thousand more to complete.
"But this is all Justo's work, and his ideas" Angel smiles. "I'm just his disciple."
"I work in a hurry, always in a rush," Justo says, as he smashes panes of coloured glass into tiny fragments for Angel to glue to the windows.
"Realising my ideal spurs me on. People today are very passive, they don't value anything. They're slaves to worldly things."
Inside the cathedral With no funding, the entire place is built out of recycled materials
But Justo is well aware his extraordinary ideal may never be fully realised.
As well as finishing the windows, the central dome still has no cover and the floor is bare; spiral staircases curl up towards the heavens and end in mid-air.
Scrawled on the wall in chalk are urgent appeals to visitors to donate funds for the church's completion.
So far, the town council has tolerated the illicit structure, which lures a steady trickle of visitors to the nondescript suburb. Some suspect the chaotically-constructed church will not outlast its creator.
"It's very difficult to get a license now," says Pablo Queralto, an architect working for Mejorada council.
"For example the bricks don't meet minimum standards, either in themselves or the way they've been laid."
But he described the eccentric edifice as an icon of the town now, unlikely to be torn down.
Justo has bequeathed his building to the local bishopric in the hope it can eventually serve as a fully functional parish church. That's his ideal, though he's pragmatic.
"Who knows what he'll do. It's up to him," he shrugs. But as Don Justo rushes back to yet another urgent task, he says he has no regrets.
"If I lived my life again, I'd build this church again, only bigger. Twice the size," he smiles, his elderly eyes sparkling.
"Because for me, this is an act of faith."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Understanding Medjugorje: A Reply to Donal Anthony Foley

Understanding Medjugorje: A Reply to Donal Anthony Foley
by Daniel Klimek
December 29, 2010
A few years ago, in June 2006, British author Donal Anthony Foley shared a press release regarding his book about Medjugorje. The press release explained:

News release for 26th anniversary of first Medjugorje visions – 22 June 2006
Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? (Theotokos Books), by Donal Anthony Foley, was published just over a year ago but there has yet to be any cogent criticism of it. 
Foley and his publicists are right. There has yet to be a cogent response to the book. Foley's book is the latest work by a Medjugorje critic that is highly antagonistic toward the apparitions in the Bosnian village and considers them to be a religious illusion. It is also a book that to this day is hailed by Medjugorje critics as a must-read, as the work that exposes what Medjugorje truly is. Nevertheless, in light of Foley's recognition that a cogent criticism has yet to be offered, here at Ministry Values we proudly and seriously accept the challenge. Our response to Mr. Foley is undertaken for the pursuit of truth, on this highly important subject that has affected millions of Catholics, and we plan to pursue our objective with the most serious scholarly rigor and erudition.


DUBIOUS SOURCES – From Discredited Authors to “Lucifer's Echo”


FATIMA & MEDJUGORJE – Concluding Thoughts

read entire article here -source -

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's 2011 - Time To Try Something New!

It's 2011 - Time To Try Something New!  CLICK TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

On January 1, 2011 we all will begin a “NEW” Year. In the book of Revelation, it talks about a coming day when Jesus will proclaim: “Behold, I make all things NEW.” (Revelation 21:5)
As we begin this New Year, I want to challenge each of us to consider some “new” things that could be helpful to both our physical and spiritual well-being.
The Bible often cautions us with regards to the choices before us. For instance the apostle John admonishes us in the Bible, in 1 John 4:1…
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
As a boy, not by my choice, I was raised on religion. Mother and Dad sent me to, what I later learned was not a Bible believing church, but rather a very liberal church that proclaimed a social gospel rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In that church I attended Sunday School faithfully, even earned perfect attendance pins. ETC.........

I was raised (again, not by choice) eating things that were not in my health’s best interest. I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD), a diet of meat and dairy at most every meal, lots of sugary desserts, and almost everything I ate was cooked.  ETC..........

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tessa Dahl, daughter of the famous writer, has finally found peace - in an abbey.

A tale of the unexpected

Tessa Dahl, daughter of the famous writer, has finally found peace - in an abbey.

Tessa Dahl looks out from a page of the Daily Mail online. I had never heard of her until a few days ago when someone drew my attention to the story headed, “Why I’m leaving a life of addiction behind and becoming a nun…”, but most Britons probably know her as the daughter of the famous story writer Roald Dahl and Hollywood star Patricia Neal, a novelist in her own right, mother of cookery show personality and former model Sophie Dahl -- and a woman with a very chequered past.

The 53-year-old shows added signs of wear and tear from the alcoholism and cocaine habit she seems to have beaten, but you can see in the structure of her face the “sharp-cheeked beauty” the Mail refers to, and indeed, you can see her in her prime in another photo (right) taken with her father, who died in 1990. In those days she was a prominent London socialite with a couple of marriages behind her, but recently she has been living in the north-eastern United States where she set up house, near her mother, with some stray animals she rescued.

In the recent photo they have her posed with a Rosary in her hand outside a church. But for the past month or so she has been living at the Regina Laudis Abbey in Bethlehem, Connecticut, home of the Benedictine order that she is the process of entering. Helping the Lady Abbess clean the chapel with a mop and pail, making butter, spinning yarn, keeping to a daily schedule of prayer is a far cry from hobnobbing with the rich and famous as she has done for much of her life, but, she says, “It is saving my life.”

It is an extraordinary turnaround, and it is not surprising that some of those who know her are sceptical. After all, her third marriage broke up because she came under the spell of a charismatic female Indian guru. All the same, there is something about the way she speaks in this interview that suggests this woman has found the answer to her lifelong search for inner peace.
‘They want to be sure that I am becoming a nun because I really, really, really love God, and they want me to prove that I can contribute to the abbey, that it isn’t just an escape.
‘Of course it isn’t,’ she adds, citing a moment of divine inspiration. ‘I had an enormous God experience as the nuns sang Vespers.
I felt as if a boulder had been pushed off my heart and it was open to joy.’
“If I wanted to escape,” she says, “I could do coke. But I don’t want to escape. I want redemption.”
Let’s just say, it’s hopeful.
Why her life has been so chaotic can be partly explained by a few biographical facts. As a child she saw her baby brother Theo hit by a taxi and left brain-damaged. Two years later her youngest sister Olivia caught measles and died. When she was nine, her mother had a stroke and the next few years revolved around her recovery. At 14 she discovered her father was conducting an affair with her mother’s best friend. She kept their secret for four years, and when she finally told Patricia, “she went insane.” They gave her bad advice:
‘I was 15 when Mummy encouraged me to become an actress. I was allowed to leave school to make a thoroughly unfitting film, Run Stranger, Run. I played a nymphomaniac murderess.
‘I started going out with older men. Dad had told me there was no point in having affairs unless it was with someone who was very famous and talented.’
In fact, at the time of her first marriage Tessa was 19 and her husband was 37.
Her father was unhelpful in another way too. She says that he “had no belief. He was frightened of feelings, of emotions, of God,” whereas she has always had a spiritual side (hence the Indian guru). But it was her mother who first found her way to Regina Laudis, after her marriage with Roald finally broke up in 1983. Patricia did not enter the order but spent more and more time at the abbey, underwent a religious conversion (presumably to the Catholic faith) and was cared for there in the final months before she died of lung cancer in August this year. Both the loss of her mother and a breach with daughter Sophie have propelled Tessa towards the monastic life.

She has a lot to regret in her life: the broken marriages, the rough ride she has given her four children, the alcohol and drug abuse that has made her a liability for her family, and her estrangement from them. In 1999 she made a suicide attempt and still has depression to battle. She currently depends on nine prescription drugs, AA meetings and intensive counselling for sanity and sobriety.

But she has hope, and I can’t help comparing her good fortune with dark despair that drove Mark Madoff to take his own life recently. The disgrace that has enveloped the prominent New York family over the Madoff business Ponzi scheme and the father’s imprisonment, as well as the possibility of criminal charges against other members of the family, must be among the hardest things in the world to bear.

Retirement to a monastery was not among Mark Madoff’s options, nor is it for the vast majority of people looking for inner peace. But what the monastery stands for -- faith and redemption -- is available to everyone. That is the meaning of Christmas, if people could only see it. And as Tessa Dahl has discovered, there really isn’t anything else solid enough to base your life on. Good luck to her.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet
This article is published by Carolyn Moynihan, and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


On October 16, 2010, a party of 46 pilgrims from Switzerland gathered to board a bus to Medjugorje. Among the travellers was a blind woman Joëlle and her 12-year-old daughter Vinciane. They were accompanied by Claudia, a family friend.

The journey to Medjugorje did not go well. It took two days for the group to arrive at a border crossing into Bosnia & Herzegovina only to discover that the Swiss bus did not have the correct documents to travel into the country. The bus and the group moved on and tried another border crossing, but was met with the same decision by border officials. The bus would not be allowed to drive into Bosnia Herzegovina.

Fortunately, at the second crossing it was noticed that there was a local bus service operating a route to Medjugorje. So the party unloaded its luggage from the Swiss bus and waited at the stand for the next bus to arrive that would take them to Medjugorje. They finally reached Medjugorje that evening at 8.00pm.

The next day the group climbed Apparition Hill, including the blind woman Joëlle. It wasn’t an easy climb in the rain, but there was a great spirit of solidarity. Later in the evening, the group gathered again and attended the evening prayer programme at St James’ church, but Joëlle became unsettled after receiving the Eucharist but was put at ease by the pastor accompanying the group.

The following day, most of the group climbed Mt Krizevac, but for Joëlle and a few others, including the pastor, they prayed instead at the Way of the Cross that surrounds the statue of the Risen Christ. The main group on Krizevac prayed earnestly for the needs of Joëlle, and in the hope that she might recover her sight. Six hours later they came off the mountain in time to attend evening Mass at St James.

It was during this Mass that something remarkable happened. At the distribution of the Eucharist Joëlle raised her head and saw in front of her a priest wearing a white alb. She looked up and was able to see the lights in the church, its high ceiling and windows. The shock to Joëlle was so great that she started to feel unwell again and asked her friend to take her outside. When Joëlle made her exit she turned to Claudia and said, “I see the light!”

They continued walking around the outside of the church towards the sacristy area and met with Fr Oliver, a priest who had also traveled with the group to Medjugorje. When he was told what had happened he was deeply moved and immediately returned inside the church to pray the Glorious Mystery of the Rosary as is customary at the evening Mass in Medjugorje.

By then others had started to gather around Joëlle and Claudia, Fr Oliver returned and then suggested they all return inside the church in thanksgiving. The group knelt at the foot of the steps to the altar to give thanks and praise for Joëlle’s wonderful healing, and were reminded of the Gospel passage when 10 lepers were healed but only one returned to give thanks.

Then the group moved on to the statue of Our Lady continued giving thanks and praise before finally returning to their hostel.

Afterwards some pilgrims told how they were placed behind Joëlle when she received communion, and they how had experienced such a strong smell of roses at the time.

Fr Oliver had run ahead of the group back to the hostel and invited everyone to come together in the main room because he had some good news to share. When Joëlle and Claudia eventually arrived back, the whole group was waiting for them.

Now throughout this healing experience, Joëlle’s daughter Vinciane had not been with her, but when her mother returned to the hostel Vinciane was waiting with the rest of the group, not knowing what had happened.

Joëlle then said to her daughter, “Vinciane, you have washed you hair?” Her daughter responded, “Yes, yes, but why have we been asked to gather in this room?” Her mother asked another question: “You see nothing strange about me?” “No” answered Vinciane. “Then look again!” said her mother.

“You can see!” exclaimed her astonished daughter. The two clasped and hugged each other in joy for five minutes. One can only imagine the emotion felt by mother and daughter and all around them at that time. And the praise and thanksgiving continued until the group decided to continue with prayer at the Blue Cross.

Joëlle later gave more details about her healing. She said that it was on the first night after Mass that she was able to distinguish light, see people’s faces and their lips move. During the following days her vision gradually improved. She is now able to see her two brothers and parents after 42 years of being blind. She said it was her parents who taught her to love Jesus and Mary and she has never stopped praying to them. She said she is also grateful for the gift of Vinciane, her “torch” as she describes her daughter.

After she regained her sight Joëlle was faced with many difficulties adjusting to her new world, especially at the sight of so many tall buildings and seeing so many people. This would often produce an adverse reaction in her and she would feel sick. But Joëlle said that with the grace of Jesus and Mary she will overcome the problems and challenges that her healing has brought. Now she can distinguish colours, houses, trees and vegetation, cars, people, the sun, and her cat! And although she is still under the care of an ophthalmologist, Joëlle said that has firm faith that Jesus will complete the work he has started. Her daughter is now able to have her own room in their apartment and has said to her mother, “Peace lives in our apartment!”

A final word from Joëlle: “This healing has given me the body of an adult, but left me with the heart of a child..”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The more we listen to our guardian angel or the Lord, the more they speak to us. That was discovered by a woman in Massachusetts who experienced a dramatic conversion from life as an exotic dancer to a promoter of the Rosary -- leaving us lessons along the way.
This is all according to the book, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary's Intercession, an anointed work by Christine Watkins that details a number of incredible life turn-arounds.
Druggies. Homeless. A New Ager.
And Angela.
Raised in a violent, broken home, Angela was ostensibly Greek Orthodox and had a Catholic mom, but they didn't practice their faith and she knew nothing about God, Jesus, or the Blessed Mother. By age age sixteen she'd had an abortion, and not too long after found herself earning a living as a stripper at a seedy nightclub.
That was when the tremendous change suddenly came upon her.
One June day as she was getting ready to head for work, "an unexplainable force or feeling," like a "wall," was put inside of her. At the very moment she felt the wall, her intuition told her, "God won't let me go to work today. God won't let me go to work today."
The feeling grew stronger the next day. "This time," said Angela, "I sensed God was telling me to quit." Remarkably, she did. Within days, she was no longer earning big money as a stripper. No one could figure her out. Soon after, she felt "told" to stop taking birth control pills and having premarital sex. "I don't know how I knew to stop, because I hadn't read or heard anything about it being wrong or that it could abort a baby," she reflects. But she listened, and more was spoken. She felt told to go to a church. She didn't know where, and ended up at an Assembly of God, where it was like the preacher was talking right to her ("If you need to be cleansed, come up to the altar," which she did).
Soon, she called her father (who had left the family for another woman). She felt compelled to forgive him. Despite what he'd done, she did -- and gave him a picture of the Blessed Mother! Forgiveness, she was "told," was important. The relief she felt was immeasurable.
At a Marian charismatic prayer session, she met a woman who told her about the Rosary and fasting each Wednesday and Friday. This was right after her conversion, but Angela did it immediately.
Her boyfriend didn't know what to think. She was dressing more conservatively. She was fasting. She was wearing medals. And now, no sex. "By this point," she told Watkins, "just three and a half weeks after my conversion, a love for Mary began to grow in my heart, and I started saying out loud, 'I love you, Mother Mary.' I bought four roses for her, two pink and two white, and put them in my room."
She obeyed God when He told her to sell her house, even though doing so seemed out of the blue, as well as improbable -- and it sold miraculously. She felt compelled to become a Catholic -- and the cardinal would give her special permission for early entry. She felt told to go to the reputed apparition site of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina (the site under study by a Vatican commission). "I loved it there and didn't want to come home," she says. "Mary's sweet presence was everywhere, and I felt like I belonged. Wherever I went, people were praying the Rosary, and the whole town seemed to go to Mass. In Medjugorje, I felt that I should confess all the sins from my life."
Just three months after being a stripper, she was climbing a holy mountain in the rain and sleeping at the summit.
Upon return, she began teaching everyone she could to pray the Rosary.
After a Cursillo weekend, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
"About twenty minutes later, electricity suddenly began to run through my entire body," says her account in this splendid book. "Terrified, I thought I was being electrocuted; but at the same time, I sensed something supernatural might be happening. I kept my eyes closed, worried it would stop if I opened them. Loud ringing pounded my ears, and a strong jolt of electricity rattled my head. And then, with the eyes of my soul, I saw the outline of a figure appear at the foot of my bed. I couldn't make out any details, but I knew who it was -- a person very familiar to me. 'Mother Mary!' I cried out.
"Then electricity raced through me more powerfully, and in my head, I could hear a loud, vibrating sound, exactly like a tape rewinding." Images of people appeared.
She thought she was about to review her life.
"Then Mother Mary left, and in her place, standing at the foot of my bed, was Jesus.
"My soul recognized Him, although the details of His facial features were hidden. He extended His Hand before me -- a very large Hand that He placed right in front of my face and over my head.
"An extreme heat came from His Hand, and my face felt like it was on fire. This lasted a second, but it was so painful! I thought that if I looked in the mirror, my face would appear black and charred, so I didn't dare open my eyes, but allowed my face to continue burning, with the thought that I was being purified in order to grow more holy, like Jesus.
"Then behind Jesus, a large wooden Cross appeared and then vanished, three times in a row.
"After that, I didn't see or feel anything. I just lay in my bed with my eyes closed, hoping another vision would appear."
It didn't but she was left with an intense, urgent desire for the Eucharist -- which led to her pleading with the cardinal for quick entry into the Church. She became a Catholic the day after the Lourdes feast day. She now feels "free as a butterfly." She has the charism of joy. There is no more anger in her -- only love and peace. Her mother now attends Sunday Mass with her -- while her boyfriend goes with her every day! Her job now: she is a home health aide for the sick, elderly, and dying. She doesn't know what more God has in store with her but is open to whatever He wants. There is no more fear. "It's amazing to really feel faith and live it," she says. "Since my conversion, I walk out of the house and say, 'Ahhh, I have nothing to worry about. God is with me.'"
[resources: Full of Grace and The Fruits of Medjugorje]