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It was on August 1, 1987, that I first visited the Blessed Mother’s House in Naju at the suggestion of a Sister. At that time, the Blessed Mother’s statue was in Julia’s apartment. I saw people quietly praying before her statue. It was a very peaceful and beautiful scene.

Later, on July 30, 1990, I visited Naju for the second time with a lay person. At that time, the Blessed Mother’s House (the Chapel) was under construction. The Blessed Mother’s statue was temporarily in the dining room, which was crowded with pilgrims praying the rosary. I also knelt and prayed.

In April 1991, I was traveling in the United States. In New York, I stayed at Mrs. Veronica Lim’s house. There I was shown a video: Marian Apparitions of the 20th Century, which had a section covering Naju. I felt ashamed of my lack of attention to Naju. These people, who were thousands of miles away from their homeland, were deeply interested in the Blessed Mother of Naju and were praying, but I, who live so close to it, had been indifferent. I felt very sorry to the Blessed Mother. I thought that I would surely visit Naju again after my return to Korea. Then, I forgot about Naju again. One day, a devout parishioner asked me if I wanted to go to Naju with him. I answered, "Maybe a few days later," because I was busy with something else at that time. However, I began thinking intensely about Naju since then and could not concentrate on any other work. So I called the parishioner and said, "Let’s go to Naju tomorrow."

On May 23, 1991, I arrived at the Blessed Mother’s House in Naju together with the above-mentioned parishioner. I prayed before the Blessed Mother’s statue, "Mother! My faith is weak. Open my hardened heart and guide me so that I may love and honor you more." While praying, I got closer to the Blessed Mother’s statue and looked at her. I was so surprised, because I saw a tear drop forming in one of her eyes. To make sure, I slightly touched the tear with the tip of the cross on my rosary. Then, the tear flowed down! I began crying, because I knew she was shedding tears because of me who had been weak in faith and ignorant about shortcomings in my priestly life. I began remembering my 20 years of priestly life like a movie. I could not control my tears. They must have been tears of repentance.

At that moment, Julia came and prayed for me. Soon she fell down on the floor and entered an ecstasy. Because she was not waking up soon, her helpers said, "She may be receiving a message," and began carrying her into her house next to the Chapel. While they were carrying her, I was surprised again, because I clearly saw scratch marks on her both arms, both legs and neck. These marks appeared suddenly. I learned later that they were made by Satan who was attacking Julia. I felt amazed and even a little fearful, because I had never seen such a thing before. Satan attacked her, because he did not like a priest coming to see Julia. I could understand this better when I remembered the lives of the Saints: St. John Bosco, St. John Vianney, and others.

Since then, I have continued to visit the Blessed Mother’s House in Naju and witness more tears and fragrant oil from her statue. These visits have enabled me to look back at my life. Why has the Blessed Mother shed tears, tears of blood, and blood from her nose? Why has she shed tears of blood for priests? I found answers in the messages of the Blessed Mother in Naju. I was especially moved by her message on August 11, 1985: "Priests are now like a light before wind. They are being subjected to temptations. The windows of rectories are left open. Through the open windows, three devils (of pride, materialism and lust) are peeking in. Close the windows of rectories." Until then, I had been confident that I had not made any big mistakes. The Blessed Mother awakened me and prodded me to live a totally consecrated life like Jesus.

So I began offering up my attachments one after another. I offered up smoking, because I had been a heavy smoker. I also gave up golf, which I had played once or twice per week. I reduced drinking to a minimum and also limited TV-watching to news. More important than these external offerings was the internal self-denial, turning life into prayers and walking the way of a little person with the heart of a child. Thus, it means to live the life that Jesus taught us: "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:4). Our age is an age of disbelief and disrespect. People disbelieve each other and disbelieve God’s Words. Ours is an age that rejects God.

Furthermore, the mystery of the supernatural world is being ignored. People approach the Holy Eucharist in a superficial way, promoting disrespect for this Mystery. Priests frequently celebrate Mass without preparation and people frequently receive Communion without going to Confession. I myself had offered superficial prayers and Divine Office and celebrated Mass out of habit. I am grateful to the Blessed Mother for calling me to reform my life.

On April 1, 1993, Bishop William McNaughton of the Inchon Diocese said during a retreat in a parish: "The Blessed Mother is imploring us with her apparitions and tears at several places. Especially in Naju, she is giving us messages through Julia. These messages have not been officially approved by the Church yet, but you are free to believe them because they do not contradict the Church teachings. However, you must be obedient to the superiors in the Church." He continued, "I know both Julia and her husband, Julio, well. They are an exemplary couple and parents. They are devout lay people with deep faith. Julio is a civil servant and president of the parish council in Naju. The country and the Church can make progress by the self-sacrificing services of such couples, parents and lay people."

After attentively and carefully observing the events in the Blessed Mother’s House in Naju for the past several years, I believe that there is no conflict with the Church teachings and that they are genuine.

Julia has suffered severe pains in reparation for the sins of abortion, pains in her sides, pains of the Five Wounds of the Lord, and more. She could not have endured these, if the Holy Spirit had not been with her. It is not only myself but many other priests who are saying this. Can we, priests, also say "Lord, praise to you," or, "Your will be done," and endure the pains that Julia has suffered for the conversion of sinners after she asked for suffering to participate in the sufferings of Jesus and the Blessed Mother?

I have witnessed many women repenting their sins of abortion, non-practicing Catholics returning to the Church, broken families restoring peace, and members of other religions and the Protestant denominations converting to the Catholic Church. I believe that these numerous precious fruits are graces from the Blessed Mother. When I look back at my past 22 years as a priest, I find so many mistakes and failures. From now on, I need to live a life filled with joy, love, peace and vitality instead of a life of stagnation. As a priest who is entrusted with the well-being of souls, I will hear Confession diligently so that they may receive the Lord as clean souls, as numerous sheep are walking toward hell and perdition without even knowing it.

"Lord, who comes to all of us as love at every moment!

Help us love You more. Let us realize that our life itself is a miracle and be grateful to You always. Let us sing the Paschal Mystery of the Lord. Let us console the Blessed Mother who is weeping under the Cross, by repenting, praying, and offering up sacrifices and reparations. Amen."

Rev. Aloysius Hong Bin Chang
Yumjoo-dong Catholic Church
Kwangju, Korea
May 30, 1993
Feast of the Pentecost


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