SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Carrying rosary beads and cameras, the faithful have been coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of Sacramento for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: a statue of the Virgin Mary they say has begun crying a substance that looks like blood.
It was first noticed more than a week ago when a priest at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church spotted a stain on the statue’s face and wiped it away. Before Mass on Nov. 20, people again noticed a reddish substance near the eyes of the white concrete statue outside the small church, said Ky Truong, 56, a parishioner.
Since then, Truong said he has been at the church day and night, so emotional that he can’t work. He believes the tears are a sign.
“There’s a big event in the future – earthquake, flood, a disease,” Truong said. “We’re very sad.”
On Saturday, tables in front of the fenced-in statue were jammed with potted plants, bouquets of roses and candles. Some people prayed silently, while others sang hymns and hugged their children. An elderly woman in a wheelchair wept near the front of the crowd.
A red trail could be seen from the side of the statue’s left eye to about halfway down the robe of concrete.
“I think that it’s incredible. It’s a miracle. Why is she doing it? Is it something bothering her?” asked Maria Vasquez, 35, who drove with her parents and three children from Stockton, about 50 miles south of Sacramento.
Thousands of such incidents are reported around the world each year. Most turn out to be hoaxes or natural phenomena.
The Rev. James Murphy, deacon of the diocese’s mother church, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, said church leaders are always skeptical at first.
“For people individually seeing things through the eyes of faith, something like this can be meaningful. As for whether it is supernatural or a miracle, normally these incidences are not. Miracles are possible, of course,” Murphy said.