Because of the long lapse of time before its fulfillment, Garabandal can be divided into three phases: the time of the apparitions; the time for the spread of the Message; and the time of the final supernatural events, namely the Aviso (Warning) and Miracle.
THE FIRST PHASE
June 18, 1961, marked the beginning of the first phase when St. Michael appeared to the visionaries in the calleja. After nine more visits by the angel, the Blessed Virgin appeared on July second and subsequently hundreds of times thereafter until the close of the apparitions on November 13, 1965. This four-year span can also be subdivided into the period of frequent apparitions, which lasted from the beginning until January, 1963, and the time of infrequent visions from that time until November, 1965. During this second period, only Conchita had visions, although both she and Mari Loli experienced locutions.
Even though Conchita did have one final locution in February 1966, the 1960s events are generally considered to have ended on November 13, 1965, the last apparition of the Blessed Virgin. We might also call this the Marian phase of Garabandal since the last phase has to do with God's direct intervention.
With the end of the first phase, the Blessed Virgin completed Her mission to announce an important Message and She did all that She could, through a spectacular display of phenomena, to insure that the Message truly was from Heaven and therefore ought to be heeded.
THE SECOND PHASE: SPREAD OF THE MESSAGE
Dividing the overall Garabandal event into three phases is certainly done arbitrarily; there are no hard and fast rules, and there is some overlapping of phases. Even during the first phase, after the announcement of the first Message on October 18, 1961, it was the Virgin's wish that the Message begin to spread at that point. There was even a lull in the events through most of the 1963-64 period for its propagation, but that did not happen. So, in Her second and final Message of June 18, 1965, Our Lady began with the complaint that little had been done to make Her Message known. But the real overlapping of the first and second phases, according to our division, can be seen with the announcement of the second Message six months before the last apparition of Our Lady. Those who were present for the reading of the Message on the day following Conchita's ecstasy, were deeply effected and some started to do something about it.
Today, through the efforts of those who answered the call and the organizations that have been established specifically for this purpose, the Message of Garabandal has spread and continues to spread throughout the world.
BUT WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?
Here we are now 37 years later and still in the spreading-the-Message phase. Why is it taking so long to get to the final, supernatural events stage? There are two answers that come to mind. The first is the importance that the Message reach as many people as possible. In the first Message, which is really the message that the Blessed Virgin came to deliver, 51 percent of the text deals with the Chastisement. It is imperative that people know what fate awaits them if there is not a universal amendment of life.
The second answer is—technology. The Blessed Virgin knew that in time there would be advancements in communications that would make it possible to spread the Message far more widely than ever before through cable and satellite television, video cassettes and most recently, the internet.
WHEN WILL IT END?
When will the second phase end and how close are we to the third and final phase of Garabandal? We can't give definite answers to those questions, but what we can say is that the phase for spreading the Message will end when we can no longer do it, for whatever reason, whether it be a general falling away of belief in Garabandal, which has been predicted, and/or the arrival of the pre-Warning tribulation/persecution period.
But even aside from anything dramatic, there are telltale signs that we are approaching the end of the second phase: the age and health of John Paul II, who is the Pope who will see the Miracle; the incredible downward moral spiral of formerly Christian societies which seems to accelerate with each passing day; the serious problems in the Church, especially regarding the Holy Eucharist where an estimated 60-70 percent of Catholics in the U.S. no longer believe in the Real Presence (a trend like this cannot continue if the Church is going to exist—and we know it will).
Unlike the overlapping between the first and second phases, between the second and third there is a gap and in this gap is the pre-Warning period, a time of great distress when, because of the raging persecution, the Church will seem to have disappeared.[Interview with Mari Loli, NEEDLES Magazine, Autumn 1975.]
We do not know how widespread this tribulation will be nor how long it will last, but there can be no question that it was predicted at Garabandal. Three of the visionaries have spoken of it and have informed us that the name the Blessed Virgin gave to it was "communism." Some may find that a little hard to believe. Isn't communism dead? Apparently not. One prominent figure in the Garabandal movement claims that the tribulation has already happened and that it was embodied in the Soviet-style, Iron Curtain communism that afflicted Eastern Europe throughout most of the 20th century. This hypothesis, however, does not stand up when placed next to what the visionaries have told us. In 1979, Jacinta Moynihan was interviewed by Frenchmen Jacques Serre and Ramon Perez. Here is one of their questions and Jacinta's answer:
Q. Do you recall anything about a great tribulation, communism or Russia?
A. Yes, it was an invasion, well, something which seemed to me like an invasion; something that was a great evil in which communism played a great part, but I no longer remember which countries or what region was stricken. The Blessed Virgin insisted on telling us to pray (that it be averted). These difficult events will take place before the Warning because the Warning itself will take place when the situation will be at its worst.
PHOTO: Jacinta in Garabandal in 1999 offers a crucifix kissed by the Blessed Virgin to a visitor. She has said that the Warning will come when the situation is at its worst.
In another interview, Mari Loli said essentially the same thing, that the Warning would come "when we need it the most."
In light of the above, is this excerpt taken from an article written for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, May 1983, by Fr. Joseph Brennan, O.C.S., in which the author summarized the prophetic statements made by Saints, Blesseds and Popes regarding our times:
They foretell a time of unprecedented and terrible confusion and suffering unlike anything ever experienced in human history. It will affect every area of human life. Everything on earth, including the earth itself, will be shaken to its core. Many institutions will never rise again though they be very ancient.THE FINAL PHASE
Christianity will undergo its most severe test of yet. There will be many casualties, many purifications. Such confusion will reign that it will appear that Christianity has almost vanished.
But then, as if to fulfill what Jesus said, "Unless those days be shortened no flesh shall survive," there will be a direct Divine intervention, both amazing and terrible, that will completely reverse the course of world events. This intervention occurs in response to the prayers, sufferings and outcries of millions of afflicted humanity.
As a result of all this there will be a turning to God that will match the apostasy from God that preceded it, with the result, as Our Lady said at Fatima, that "an era of peace will be granted to humanity." This will be a peace such as the world has never known and it will endure, apparently, for a considerable period.
The final phase will begin with the Warning. There are some today who say the Warning does not belong exclusively to Garabandal since it had been predicted by Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) and possibly St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581). But there clearly is a difference between prophecies made of a future event by those who lived in former centuries, and an event being announced for those who will experience it in their lifetime. And who ever spoke of this event until Garabandal? It was Garabandal that made it known, revealed of what it will consist, and gave it a time frame. Mari Loli knows the year when it will occur. Furthermore, to take this event out of the context of Garabandal would be to overlook its purpose of preparing the world for the great Miracle.
The Warning is very much a part of the Garabandal events and will initiate the final phase—and more. Conchita has said that "when you see the Warning you'll know you have opened up the end of time."
Within a twelve-month period after the Warning will come the Miracle. Conchita has expressed her opinion that the two events will be close together.
With the Miracle comes the end of the Garabandal events (excluding the conditional Chastisement) and we can all look forward to the fulfillment of Our Lady's words that when the Miracle happens, "all will believe." •
Reprinted with permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL • JULY-AUGUST 2002