AGOO, PHILIPPINES (1989-1993)
The visionary, Judiel Nieva, reportedly started receiving private apparitions of Our Lady in 1987 when he was only 10 years old and in the sixth grade. These initial visions took place in the privacy of his own home. He was the seventh child of eight born to poor parents who worked two stalls at the local market. Everyone in Agoo knew Judiel because he was reputed to have special powers – even at his age of ten. He was sought as a healer. He had reported psychic abilities – like being able to detect a non-believer, even from a great distance. (The name “Judiel” means “Bearer of God’s Mercy.”) He prayed frequently and wrote down on paper the messages from Our Lady each time she gave him some. Investigators noted that these hastily-written notes were carefully worded with near perfect grammar, seemingly beyond that of his age.
Later, Our Blessed Mother instructed the visionary to go with some of his friends up to the small spring of water in the hills above Agoo, the site of San Antonio. This is where the first public apparition took place on March 31, 1989. First, there was a bright flash of light. Then he heard voices and the sounds of trumpets while angels descended from heaven toward him, singing, “Alleluia” and “Salve Regina.” The angels formed an inverted “V” with three angels on either side and St. Michael at the apex with a white dove above his head. The Holy Family appeared on a cloud – St. Joseph with a shepherd’s staff, and Our Lady was sitting on a rock, holding baby Jesus on her lap. The angels identified themselves – each representing a day of the week:
St. Michael (Sunday) – holding a weighing scale and a sword
St. Gabriel (Monday) – holding a plum and a book
St. Raphael (Tuesday) – holding a fish and a sword
St. Uriel (Wednesday) – holding a weighing scale
St. Setiel (Thursday) – holding an incensor
St. Judiel (Friday) – holding a music book and a bouquet of flowers
St. Baracheil (Saturday) – holding a small child
Then Our Blessed Mother stood up over a guava tree on a rise, high, overlooking the spring, and spoke. Her Immaculate Heart was visible on her chest, and light radiated outward towards the spring of water – which the infant Jesus then waded in. Mary promised to visit Judiel every first Saturday and on her Feast days. She asked for other people to return also.
Over 50 apparitions occurred between March 31, 1989 and September 8, 1993. As each apparition day approached, he would begin a period of fasting and meditation. During this time he would not speak to anyone or appear in public. He preferred privacy, but when in public, male friends would act as “bodyguards.” Just before the Virgin Mary would appear, her presence could be detected through the extraordinary fragrance of roses. People would kiss the ground when they perceived this. A flash of light usually preceded her appearance.
Mary was “a heavenly beauty to behold.” She wore a long white dress with a long mantle which touched the cloud upon which she stood. Only her toes could be seen. At the hem of her dress was a shining star, with a brighter star on her forehead. On her head was a beautiful crown, and above the crown was a halo of twelve stars. Her eyes were bluish-brown. Her Immaculate Heart was exposed. She usually carried a rosary and sometimes a scapular. At times Mary would be weeping – sometimes tears of blood flowed profusely from her eyes.
Her messages were simple and focused on praying the rosary, penance, conversion, and consecration to her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She also stressed humility and sacrifice. Judiel received secrets which have not been revealed. Judiel was also shown visions of heaven, hell, and purgatory.
Large crowds were present during each apparition. Tens of thousands of people converged on this small community, causing traffic jams for scores of miles. Those present were often treated to spectacular signs and visions in the sky as well the “miracle of the spinning sun,” the aroma of roses, and a mysterious blue light whenever Mary would appear to Judiel. The miracle of the “dancing sun” was witnessed by many thousands of people on several occasions. First, the sun would change from its usual radiant glare to a softer glow covered by a disc. Then different colors would radiate from the sun, spinning these rays of predominantly blue, green, red, and yellow colors onto the crowds as colored discs. These colors would remain on the disc-shaped objects for a few seconds after the disc was touched. Images of angels, the Holy Family, Jesus, and Mary with Joseph would appear from the pulsating sun.
March 31, 1992: Our Lady presented the “Seven Keys to Heaven” and begged Judiel to pray the 15 mysteries of the rosary, daily, while traveling, so that he would be protected from all dangers of body and soul.
- Attend daily Mass.
- Visit the Blessed Sacrament often.
- Wear the Brown Scapular (cloth).
- Pray the 15 mysteries of the holy rosary with the litany and Hail Holy Queen.
- Do the Way of the Cross.
- Go to Confession regularly.
- Make Communion of Reparation on First Fridays and First Saturdays.
April 4, 1992: Mary said that the year 1995 would be the year of sorrows. Many babies and little children will die from an unknown disease. These deaths would not be a punishment but “an act of mercy to spare them from the coming chastisement, which was too horrible.”
May 23, 1992: Mary says,
“If you don’t help me, the wrath of God shall fall upon mankind. I can hardly hold the hand of My Son back. If you don’t repent, it will happen very soon. It may happen within two years.”
June 11, 1992: Mary says,
“If the world does not change, I will send the warning. The earth will shake. The sun will spin with a big explosion, and the moon will appear in the morning and the sun at night. The miraculous phenomenon will be visible all over earth, and all of this will happen within half an hour. Big storms, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and changing weather conditions are already on their way.”
July 4, 1992: Mary says,
“Pray the holy rosary — Satan will be defeated because he hates hearing the name of My Son and my name. Teach your children how to pray the holy rosary …”
August 1, 1992: An angel appeared and gave Judiel Holy Communion from a Host and a Chalice suspended in mid-air.
September 5, 1992: Many people witnessed the “miracle of the sun.”
November 14, 1992: Mary said,
“I am your Mother. Love each other. Forgive each other. Pray, pray, pray. I love you very much. … It is not enough to ask for peace, but make peace. Do not turn peace to violence. Ask for faith that you may be patient. If you do not change your ways, you will provoke the Third World War.”
December 13, 1992: A Eucharistic Miracle was witnessed by Father Cortez and nuns at the convent. A statue of Mary, carved according to Judiel’s description of her, was brought to the convent and shed tears to the amazement of the nuns and Father Cortez. When Father Cortez placed a Host on Judiel’s tongue, witnesses reported that they saw it “turn into flesh and blood.” When Judiel went back to his pew after communion, he felt liquid dripping from his mouth. Then the Host swelled in his mouth, and the person next to him alerted Father Cortez, who urged him to spit it out. The Communion Host had transformed into pulsating flesh and blood. Father Cortez wanted to preserve this Eucharistic Miracle, but Our Lady intervened and said that Judiel must swallow it. As a concession however, the nuns were allowed to press and imprint the bloody Host onto their white handkerchiefs. Each nun did receive an imprint on each handkerchief. Then Judiel put the Host back on his tongue – at which time it slowly turned back into a white host — just before he swallowed it, according to witnesses. When Father Cortez asked him to open his mouth afterwards, there was no trace now of blood, flesh, or the host.
January 23, 1993: Mary said,
“On February 6th, I will give a great and special sign to the people coming to Agoo.”
February 6, 1993: The statue of Our Lady cried tears of blood after the regular First Saturday apparition at “Apparition Hill.” A great number of pilgrims also witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun.” Later that night, the statue was brought to the bishop’s palace in San Fernando. Bishop Lazo reported that he witnessed with his own eyes the statue shedding tears of blood. He said that the room filled with the strong fragrance of roses, “and we knelt and prayed.” He even placed his own fingers in the blood that was on the face of the statue – and tasted the blood. It was salty. A photograph captured the moment, showing the smeared bloody face of the statue after he placed his fingers on it. The National Bureau of Investigation tested the blood and determined that it was human blood, type “O”. The Virgin Mary said that day,
“The only word I wish to say is conversion for the whole world. I ask only for the conversion of hearts. Be ready for everything, and be converted.”
February 11, 1993: Reported by cloistered nuns, a six-year old boy — who had been born blind – had his sight miraculously restored during the apparition on this date. This was the first documented healing associated with the apparitions. The weeping statue was also attributed to two unexpected healings of a high official’s critically ill wife.
Interest had grown tremendously in the apparition occurrences to the point that countless thousands started gathering in the days preceding an event. On March 5, 1993, the day before the next apparition, a Manila Bulletin reporter covering the events said that he personally witnessed “a spinning and dancing of the sun” for about 15 minutes. And at dawn of the apparition day, “the sun again moved and danced” for a brief time.
March 6, 1993: It is estimated that one million people gathered that day for the anticipated apparition. The crowd included top Philippine government officials, journalists, and the local bishop – acting as a representative for the Pope. Father Cortez conducted a noontime Mass at “Apparition Hill” with this massive assembly. At one point Father appealed for silence from the crowd, calling for them to feel the presence of Christ in their hearts. Suddenly, the silhouette of the Virgin Mary appeared for five seconds above the guava tree. Two government officials, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore, attested to seeing this manifestation in Agoo. A radio reporter, Mon Francisco, described the apparition to listeners of Manila radio station DZXL.
“I saw a silhouette of a woman wearing a dark waistband. I had not expected to see any apparition – and I was not hallucinating!”
About ten minutes afterwards, Judiel was reading a message he had just received from the Virgin when “lights of different colors came from various directions and moved toward the sun,” according to the Manila Bulletin. Her message asked for Catholics to pray for the children of famine-wracked Somalia. Judiel announced that the next and last apparition would be on September 8, 1993.
Bishop Salvador Lazo also experienced the phenomenon. He created a commission to investigate, gather evidence and testimonies, and report to the Vatican on the events. Scores of miraculous cures have been attributed to the water spring at the apparition site.
September 8, 1993: Mary said in her final public message,
“My children, listen. You see how hard Satan is working to destroy unity in the whole world, especially between the priesthood and the flock, and in families between man and the children. Satan works to take away peace and unity, to stir up trouble all over the universe. We have to launch a counterattack – which can only be through the holy rosary. So pray the whole mysteries of the rosary daily, because this is the most evangelical prayer.”
Despite all of these details, witnessed miracles, and public events, the commission created by Bishop Lazo condemned everything without explanation – giving only reference to alleged financial misdoings by the visionary’s family and Judiel’s own personal gender identity issues – seemingly unrelated concerns that should hardly dismiss all that occurred in Agoo of a supernatural nature. Because of politics and unfair biases, this series of remarkable events, well-witnessed by thousands, remains relatively unknown because of the abrupt dismissal.