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Meet the Miracle Hunter: Michael O’Neill studies miraculous claims and calls the Catholic Church’s approach to them "perfect"

Aleteia - August 30, 2016

Miracles can really help to bolster somebody’s faith,” (O'Neill) says. “They shouldn’t be the center of our faith. There are people — we all know them — who get hung up on these things. I’m the ‘miracle hunter’ so it sounds funny for me to say this, but if that’s the entirety of your faith, you’re in trouble. But it’s a great entry point and it’s a point of excitement for people to engage with their faith and turn towards Christ, when they see these great occasions when God has blessed the world. For people who have lost their faith, miracles are a great way to re-engage, and for young people who have supernatural characters and storylines in their movies and video games — well, we have all that in Catholic faith so it’s a great way for them to get interested in the faith.”

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A Church of Miracles: The Church’s understanding of the miraculous takes many forms, all requiring strict Vatican scrutiny

OSV Newsweekly - July 7, 2016 by Michael O'Neill

What is a miracle? By the very etymology of the word —mirari (to be amazed) — it seems to be a rare, inexplicable blessing that is an occasion of God’s benevolent interference in our lives. These special moments go beyond the upending of our expectations or mere marvels, and they are common to all of us — at least the seeking of them.

We all pray for “miracles” of one sort or another. Perhaps a sports fan prays for an impossible Hail Mary pass at the end of a football game or a student begs God to pass a test that he expects to fail. Someone who despairs of finding a lost wallet might desperately beseech St. Anthony for some help. We hope for that dream job or pray to be lifted from a financial difficulty by some sort of divine intervention.

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The curious case of the Lipa Marian apparitions

Catholic News Agency - June 18, 2016

Lipa, Philippines, Jun 18, 2016 / 04:49 pm (CNA).- The story of Sister Teresita Castillo and the supposed Marian apparitions of Lipa City, Philippines reads something like a mystery novel.

A negative judgement given in a document signed by local bishops and subsequent suppression of the devotion most likely drove the visionary nun out of the convent.

Years later, some bishops involved in the disapproval of the case allegedly came forward with deathbed confessions, saying they only ruled against the apparitions on threat of excommunication.

A document from the 1950s that would further clarify the case is still being kept secret in the archives of the Vatican.

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A Marian apparition has been approved in Argentina - and it's a big deal

Catholic News Agency - June 4, 2016

What began with glowing rosaries and the rediscovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary in Argentina has now been approved by the local bishop as a series of apparitions that are “of supernational origin” and worthy of belief.

And the designation is deeply significant, recognizing the messages of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas, which exhort peace and give dire warnings, one miracle researcher says.

Bishop Hector Cardelli of San Nicolas in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province made the announcement May 22 at the conclusion of a Mass during the well-attended pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas.

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It's Official: Major Apparitions of Mary Are Approved

National Catholic Register - May 27, 2016

Holy Trinity Sunday, May 22, was a banner blue-letter day — blue for our Blessed Mother — as Bishop Hector Cardelli of San Nicolas, Argentina, officially declared that the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary in his diocese are of “supernatural character” and worthy of belief.

The apparitions took place in this city over 100 miles from Buenos Aires from Oct. 13, 1983 to Feb. 11, 1990. Our Blessed Mother appeared to a housewife named Gladys Herminia Quiroga de Motta nearly daily, giving 1804 messages. Gladys also received 68 visits and messages from Jesus.

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Interview with 'The Miracle Hunter'

Renew America - May 26, 2016

Interview with Matt C. Abbott from Renew America

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Mary statue in California appears to weep miraculous tears

Catholic News Service - May 11, 2016

A statue of the Virgin Mary in Fresno, Calif. appears to be weeping miraculous tears, according to witnesses.

The family that owns the statue says the tears have been coming and going for about the past year and a half.

According to witnesses, the tears appear to well up in Mary’s right eye and stream down her face. Maria Cardenas, owner of the statue, placed a glass under the statue's chin to collect the apparently miraculous tears and share them with people who come to see it.

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Related articles:
Christian Today - Virgin Mary statue in California shedding 'miraculous tears,' witnesses claim

A crash course in Miracles 101

Catholic News Agency - May 8, 2016

What do a grilled cheese sandwich and the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe have in common?

Both bore what appeared to be images of Mary. One was determined to be authentically miraculous, the other was not. Not to spoil any secrets, but it’s not Our Lady of the Grilled Cheese that converted Mexico and continues to draw millions of people on pilgrimage every year.

But have you ever wondered just how the Church determines the bogus from the divinely appointed?

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Related articles:
Christian Today - Miracles expert explains the purpose of miracles and what they mean for our faith

National Catholic Register - Miracle Hunter: ‘I Think Miracles Can Play a Huge Role in Evangelization’

Alleged Visionary Charlie Johnston Continues Ministry, Despite Denver Archdiocese's Warning

National Catholic Register - April 29, 2016

“God loves the ordinary. So do I, and so should you. That’s just a simple fact.”

That’s how Charlie Johnston began a presentation in Birmingham, Ala., last summer. Then he went on to recount conversations he has allegedly had since he was a young boy with his guardian angel about a grave crisis that will happen in his lifetime — a crisis he says has already begun.

“We are given these things as sort of mileposts, so that when they come to pass, we see the hand of God in them — and that, really, is what I do. I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything except to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around them,” said Johnston of his unusual message.

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Miracle Hunter’s Manual

National Catholic Register - February 20, 2016

By Fr. C. John McCloskey

The author of Exploring the Miraculous is Michael O’Neill, also known as the “Miracle Hunter.” He is a Stanford-trained engineer who, as a devout Catholic in his student days, became fascinated with exploring the technical side of the miraculous. He was first drawn to this subject matter while writing a paper on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego’s tilma. The many scientifically mysterious aspects of the image piqued O’Neill’s interest in exploring other miraculous Marian apparitions and healings.

Over many years, O’Neill has compiled fascinating scientific data to explain such events to the extent they possibly can — or to set out for the lay reader why such events are currently inexplicable. Speaking as a Catholic priest, I can say I’ve never met a Catholic who did not believe in miracles — our faith, after all, is founded on the miraculous events of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, and the New Testament is chock-full of them, even after Christ’s ascension into heaven. (O’Neill looks at these also.)

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How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman

National Geographic Magazine - December 2015

by Maureen Orth

It’s apparition time: 5:40 p.m. In a small Roman Catholic chapel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the village of Medjugorje, Ivan Dragicevic walks down the aisle, kneels in front of the altar, bows his head for a moment, and then, smiling, lifts his gaze heavenward. He begins to whisper, listens intently, whispers again, and doesn’t blink for ten minutes. His daily conversation with the Virgin Mary has begun.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/virgin-mary-text

When Pope John Paul II died eight years ago, supporters chanted "Santo subito," or "Sainthood now!"

Live Science - July 9, 2013

By Tia Ghose

It looks like his supporters will finally be getting their wish. The former pope's path to sainthood is almost complete, with the Vatican  recently confirming that he performed two miracles. Now all that's left is the official canonization ceremony, which  has not been scheduled yet. The process of certifying miracles in the Catholic Church goes back centuries and involves an investigation by scientific experts. 

Though it may seem strange to outsiders, verifying that miracles have occurred can strengthen people's beliefs, said Michael O'Neill, who runs the website MiracleHunter.com.

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