I wondered when this would appear here. The following is quoted without permission from Th

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I wondered when this would appear here. The following is quoted without permission from The Washington Post, Monday, March 9, 1992, Page D3, typos are probably my fault: At Va. Church, Reports of Miracles Media Flock to Investigate Priest's 'Stigmata', Weeping Statue By Pierre Thomas, Washington Post Staff Writer An Associate pastor at a Catholic church in Prince William County has marks that mirror the wounds of Christ on the cross and statues in the sanctuary weep after he has handled them, according to the church pastor and congregation members. James Bruse, associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge, first mentioned the existence of a weeping statue on New Year's Eve, the Rev. Daniel Hamilton, the church's pastor, said yesterday. Hamilton said he also noticed on Bruse what he described as stigmata, marks on the wrists, feet and side, the places where Jesus "Christ" was pierced during the Cruci-fiction. "It seems to be a physical phenomenon associated with Father Bruse," Hamilton said. "I don't know what is happening. Father Bruse is a normal guy .... He is a man of prayer, but he is not a mystic." In a brief interview after a 9:30 a.m. Mass yesterday that attracted unusual media attention, Bruse pulled back his sleeves. There were pink marks about an inch in diameter on his wrists and the backs of each hand. It is unclear what caused the marks. "The bleeding has slowed, but there is still pain," Bruse said. "I think it's a phenomenon. I feel like it's from Christ." Bruse said later that he has similar marks on the tops of his feet and on his right side. He said he bleeds from the wounds, with the last occaision being about 10 days ago. "When it first started, I thought it was some kind of skin disease," Bruse said. Asked about the possibility of a hoax, he said: "I would be just as cynical. I would be questioning this." A statement Hamilton said was issued by the Diocesan Chancery in Arlington does not make any claims about the phenomena attributed to Bruse. "In this particular case there is no determined message attached to the reported physical phenomena, and thus there is no ecclesiastical declaration to be made at this time," the statement said. "As always in similar cases, the Church recommends great caution in forming judgments, and advises against any speculation on the causes or possible significance of the reported events." Stigmata have been attributed to Catholic mystics, particularly St. Francis of Assisi. Yesterday, Hamilton recalled a discussion he had with Bruse on New Year's Eve: Bruse said he had recently given his mother a statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, and a few days later, the statue began weeping, as did all the others in his mother's Stafford County home. "He came to the ultimate cynic," Hamilton said. "I don't believe in these kinds of things. I told him it must be the result of atmospheric conditions." The two men then exchanged statues, Hamilton said. "When he gave me the statue, I noticed these marks on his wrists," Hamilton said. "Stigmata .... He didn't know what those marks meant. I said, `Didn't they teach you anything at [divinity] school?'" Hamilton later went to Bruse's room at the rectory. "I looked at his statue of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the statue was crying blood. I backed out of his room." When Hamilton returned to his own room, the statue of Mary that Bruse had given him "was crying." On New Year's Day, when Hamilton got out of bed "water was running down the face of the statue," he said. Bruse said he received a master's degree in 1983 from Mount St. Mary College in Emmitsburgh, Md. He worked at two local parishes, St. James in Falls Church and St. John's in Leesburgh, before he went to the Lake Ridge church about 21 months ago, he said. Described by members of the congregation as a shy, unassuming man, Bruse has become the center of attention since the phenomena associated with him were reported on WUSA-TV, Channel 9. Yesterday, several television crews lined up outside the church, which was often so full that people had to stand in its anteroom. Tom Saunders, 52, a laid off engineer, said he has seen supernatural incidents on at least three occasions. Once he was holding a statue in Bruse's presence and "it started crying," he said. "I was amazed, incredible .... When you are holding something in your hand and actually feel [the water] ... it's hard to say I don't believe it." Others in the congregation have not seen, but hey believe. "God's touched Father Jim," said Jo Anne Cowley, 45, of Lake Ridge. "All the strangers want to come and see to believe. Everybody's a little bit skeptical. The Lord is here. I think He is trying to say to his people, `Believe'." ----------- The story is accompanied by a picture of 4 young (early Teens?) boys near some large (life sized) religious statues (appear to be wooden, can't really tell though) as well as an emergency lighting box on one of the visible walls. One of the boys is reaching towards one of the statues. The caption is "Boys touch statues that are said to weep at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge." ---------- My only comment that occured to me as I was typing this in is to note how much of the story is filled with things Father Hamilton said and how little of the story is actually what Father Bruse said. Also, I'm rather amazed that a Catholic priest didn't know what stigmata are. Bob Garwood


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