Pilgrims shouting, "See her, see her," say they saw visions of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ in the clouds during an evening Mass, but the pastor of the church where they gathered said real miracles should touch the soul, not the body.
The mass outside St. John Neumann Catholic Church, held on the annual feast of the Assumption of Mary, had to be interrupted at least three times as thousands of celebrants began crying and screaming that they saw images of Mary and Jesus in the early evening sky Monday.Leaders of St. John Tuesday were expected to begin sorting through photographs and other documents needed as proof of the sightings.
However, Monsignor Joseph James, pastor of the west Texas church, said the real miracles are in the people's hearts.
"The Blessed Mother said, `I am not preparing you for the feast of the Assumption. I am preparing you for eternity.' What's important is what people take home," he said.
"They could see 1,000 miracles and go to hell."
A crowd of as many as 15,000 people, who were drawn to the church by stories Mary was speaking to three parishioners, shrieked, cried and pointed to the sky at images in the clouds some saw, but some did not.
"At first I couldn't see anything, but I prayed a Hail Mary," said Bertha Curley of Alexandria, Va., who said she saw a veil lift from the sky to reveal a rose color, the figure of Jesus Christ and three rings she said stood for the Holy Trinity.
"I can't say I saw Mary, but we're quite pleased," Curley said. "She put on a good show."
As the clouds moved across the sky, members of the audience screamed, "See her, see her."
"I saw the pathway to heaven," yelled another man.
Kyle Broderson, a lay church official, echoed what many pilgrims said.
"I saw a streak of light shoot from the east. I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sun and a rainbow around the sun and a red moon. The crowd was golden," he said.
Several people said their rosaries turned to gold in the twilight. When the light faded, however, they returned to their silver coloring.