April 28, 2011 A.D.
The Day After
“What would you be thinking at this moment if yesterday the economy collapsed? What decisions would you be putting into place if hyperinflation took place and everything was sold out at the grocery store? People try to spend as quickly as possible what cash they have to get an instant kind of material product. And what would that material product be as your priority? Is this a farfetched scenario? No way. And would you want to be sitting there the day after thinking what should I do? What decisions do I need to make? What can I reorder in my life? What a fool I have been. Our Lady doesn’t say, “You are in a time of grace. Use it well,” without some purpose. Will you reflect upon those words and say, “How stupid I was, all that time I wasted.” Some don’t want to face the times. Some don’t want to read what’s there. You don’t have to be religious. I’ve talked with atheists that know something is up. Something is wrong. So what will you be doing the day after?”
This was A Friend of Medjugorje’s introduction to today’s, April 28, 2011, Mejanomics Radio program that is aired every Thursday. And though the words are startling to read after yesterday’s tornados that brought large scale death and destruction throughout the state of Alabama, and other states, the words above were actually pre-recorded before the storms hit.
Not since the year 1933 has Alabama experienced such horrific and devastating winds and storms as happened yesterday, April 27. There have been 190 confirmed fatalities, as of 10:30 a.m., CST, and the number is expected to continue to climb throughout the day as search parties make their way through devastated areas.
At 5:00 a.m., the morning of April 27, many of the Caritas Community members were praying in the Field where Our Lady has appeared on many occasions, as they do every morning. Walking to the Field they could hear the emergency sirens going off in the far off distance signaling that in the surrounding areas, severe weather was being reported and to take cover.
Just two week earlier (April 12), we had tornadoes come through the valley here, doing damage to the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages. (See story below) It was strange to us that we were experiencing so much severe weather in such a short time frame. This was not normal weather for Alabama. We believed it to be connected to Our Lady’s recent presence here this past March 19-23, the many graces showered upon those who had gathered here, and the impact the newly expanded Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages would be making against satan’s plans in the future.
In the Field, the morning of Wednesday April 27, we could see dark clouds churning in the sky, and at around 5:30 a.m. the nearby sirens began to go off while the wind was picking up and lightening began to flash in the sky. A strange orange light appeared from where the storm was coming. Though we often sit through thunderstorms during 5:00 a.m. prayer during the year, this storm coming promised to be worse than normal. Just after arriving to our homes right at 6:00 a.m., a sudden strong wind and pounding rain hit. As we had already realized, this wasn’t just a normal thunder storm as our homes shook, and some prayers continued to be said for Our Lady’s protection. Two of the community members were in the barn milking cows. When they walked outside they saw such a tempest of wind blowing trees and rain coming down in torrents that they immediately thought it was a tornado. Though the weather forecasters had been warning the day before that dangerous weather may be heading to our area, nothing this early in the day had been predicted. We learned much later in the day that we weren’t the only ones who had been caught off guard. But the storm blew out as quickly as it had blown in. When we came into work an hour later, the skies were blue and the weather mild.
We began hearing reports that morning that in different parts of our county and neighboring counties there were many trees down, and some power outages. One of our community members was scheduled for surgery on April 28th. She was to arrive at the hospital first thing the morning of April 27th. What normally would be a 30- 45 minute drive took them 3 ½ hours to arrive at the hospital because of all the trees and debris on the roads. This early morning storm had gone unnoticed by those reporting the weather because their full attention was on the very large storm fronts that would be moving into Alabama by mid-afternoon.
Right before 3:00 p.m., the power went out in Our Lady’s Tabernacle and community homes. When the community gathered to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 p.m., we had already begun to hear of tornadoes causing tremendous damage about 60 miles away from Birmingham, and the storms were heading in our direction. At the same time, two community members who had been out on Caritas grounds relayed that they saw a great many trees down in one area of the property. Entire trees had been completely uprooted and were lying down, one after the other, as in a game of Dominoes. We realized that it had been a tornado that struck this morning to have caused these large trees to fall. With the power out, the reports of deaths and wide spread destruction, and then learning of more damage on Caritas property we decided to go to the area where the trees had fallen and to pray in thanksgiving for God’s protection this morning, and to ask for His protection for what we still faced in the storms heading towards Birmingham. We knelt among the fallen trees and prayed the following prayer:
The Prayer or Blessing Against Storms
Jesus Christ, a king of Glory, has come in Peace. + God became man, + and the Word was made flesh.+ Christ was born of a Virgin. + Christ suffered. + Christ was crucified. + Christ died. + Christ rose from the dead. + Christ ascended into Heaven. + Christ conquers. + Christ reigns. + Christ orders. + May Christ protect us from all storms and lightening. + Christ went through their midst in Peace, + and the Word was made flesh. + Christ is with us with Mary. + Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Juda, the Root, David, has won. + Holy God. + Holy Immortal God!+ Have Mercy on us. Amen!
(After each + make the Sign of the Cross)
Apparently, Our Lady had wanted the community to gather at these fallen trees and to pray this prayer because as soon as we arrived back up at the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, the power came back on and we were able to continue our work for Our Lady. However, we kept our ears open for the path the storm was taking. Two very large storm fronts had formed, one right after the other, in which the formation of the most dangerous tornados, levels F4 and F5, were being reported. A very large tornado was seen approaching the city of Tuscaloosa, about 60 miles from Caritas, ½ mile wide and traveling about 45 miles per hour. This would be the most devastating of all the paths of tornadoes that struck yesterday, starting at Tuscaloosa and eventually cutting across the city of Birmingham and beyond. Familiar names of cities and towns were being reported, point by point, as the tornados passed, leaving behind them destroyed buildings and lives everywhere they went. It was reported that one of the tornados was actually on the ground for 90 miles. The tornado was increasing in size and in speed as it neared Birmingham. Several community members were at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the city of Birmingham when the tornado struck. At one point, all the patients in the hospital were moved out of their rooms and into the hallways to be out of the way of any windows that could explode. Two of our community member, before leaving the room, took a look out the window and couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The tornado was literally passing right by the hospital, and though it was too big to see it in its entirety, they could see the swirling wind and debris. They saw several electrical explosions as transformers were being blown all across the city as the tornado traveled through. It was like nothing they had ever experienced before, being so close to something so powerful and destructive. However, it passed by without any damage to the hospital.
After leaving Birmingham, the two tornado fronts were moving at a straight shot towards highway 43, where Caritas of Birmingham is located. By this time, community members had moved all cars and equipment under cover, and all the community was gathered in Our Lady’s Tabernacle. It was predicted to hit around 8:00 p.m. We were listening to the radio forecasts, and the news was not good. However, as we prepared for the impact, the tornado began taking a path that was leading away from the Field. We had friends in town who were following the path of the storm from their home. They also could see the path of the storm heading directly down hwy 43. They tried calling Caritas to send a warning, but we were not answering the phones at this point. Finally, they looked out their window towards the mountain behind which Caritas was located, and were surprised to see a full rainbow extending behind the mountain in the general area of the Field. At that moment, they said they knew everything would be okay. They felt assured that the tornado would not hit the community. And shortly afterwards, the weather forecasters showed that the front had moved and missed the areas that had been blessed so many times by Our Lady’s apparitions.
This is not the first time we have seen tornadoes and other dangerous weather conditions that were headed straight towards us, suddenly change directions and the danger adverted. We know it was Our Lady who protected us from yesterday’s storms. We started the day in the Field, at 5:00 a.m. for prayer, watching the storms begin to roll in. We gathered in the Field again, for Rosary time at 11:00 a.m., to honor Our Lady’s apparition time. In Our Lady’s Tabernacle, darkened from the loss of power, we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00, and then headed down across the street to view the damage of the trees from an earlier tornado, praying the prayer of protection against storms. And the prayers continued throughout the rest of the evening. Our Founder has often said “A people are more protected by their way of life than by any armament.” We have seen this time and time again.
Now it is “the day after.” And the words that our founder spoke yesterday, prophetically, are being lived by so many today, because of a storm yesterday that came in a blink of an eye, without warning, without time for preparation, without time to seek shelter. The questions presented by our founder at the beginning of this article are being asked today by many who lost everything in a moment’s notice—family members, homes, businesses.
It was a tragic day for many yesterday. But time and time again in the reports of the individual stories of people who lived through the near-hurricane strength winds, God’s name is mentioned. People are saying He was present, He protected, He was there. Even from secular news sources and from city and government officials God is being called upon for help. Some don’t want to face the times. Some don’t want to read what’s there. But increasingly we are being placed into situations where we must “face the times” and “read what’s there.” But what we find when we do, is that God is there.
From our hearts, the whole Caritas Community wishes to thank all of those who were lifting us up in prayer. We have heard from many of you and we thank you for your intercession. We are certain that your prayers contributed to the outcome of yesterday’s events. Please know that we also keep you all in our prayers—for all of the storms you all are enduring. May you be able to say as well, “God is present, He is protecting, He is there.”
In the Love of Our Lady,
The Community of Caritas
UPDATE: In the end, the total deaths across the state of Alabama was 257 deaths. But, amazingly, with destruction all around, in almost every county, Shelby County, where Caritas is located, had zero deaths!
P.S. A Friend of Medjugorje pre-recorded the Mejanomics show because he and his wife are attending the beatification of Pope John Paul II with Medjugorje visionary, Marija and her husband, Paolo. They left Caritas just as the second wave of storms was entering into Alabama, narrowly missing them. We encourage you to listen to the Mejanomics program, aired today, April 28, 2011, entitled “What if Yesterday Everything Collapsed?” It has particular relevance today in light of yesterday’s devastation.
The following pictures are a few shots during the time the storm was passing over Caritas:
Two Weeks Ago: April 11, Another line of tornadoes go through Alabama, doing damage to the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages
The founder and community of Caritas had a fresh respect for the damage and danger tornadoes bring because two weeks before yesterday’s storms, on April 13, 2011, a tornado had come through Caritas property in a previous storm front. The damage was pretty contained to a specific area, but we were amazed at the havoc it produced in just a split second. What follows is the description of the events that occurred on April 13. We believe that satan has had a design behind these storms to cause damage to Our Lady’s mission and the grounds She sanctified. We are, therefore, so grateful that She has protected us from the devastating damage that so many are experiencing these days.
April 13, 2011 A.D.
We heard the civil defense warnings going off and turned on the radio. Our county was under a tornado warning. The projection path that the severe storm was traveling was broadcasted. First, Bessemer, then the Galleria area, Hoover, Highway 280 in the vicinity of Wal-Mart, Highland Lakes. As we listened, we heard the tornado warning, and of a tornado possibly touching down that was on a direct path crossing Caritas. Living in a tornado-prone area, we are used to these kinds of things. We take it in stride as part of our life and remain in peace. The radio announcers were announcing the storm speed and being fairly accurate in their timing as the severe storm front reached each location, which added excitement as the storm approached. Caritas was to be hit at approximately 8:04 p.m. When the storm front hit, one of the community homes began to be hit by so much debris and noise that the family headed to the first floor of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages for safety. Others in the community heard high-pitched winds. Meanwhile, the siren warning had been blaring continuously for 20 minutes, letting people know to take shelter. The radio broadcasted for everyone on nearby Highway 280 to get off the highway and take immediate shelter. The storm went as quickly as it came. The lightening, however, continued for another whole hour. The lightening was beautiful to watch from our houses as each family prayed their family Rosary. It wasn’t until the next morning that we discovered a path of several large trees blown down and tops twisted off. We thought we had escaped the tornadoes but evidently one dipped down for a brief moment and did damage to the trees. We saw this as we walked to the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages the next morning. We went on into the shipping department of our mission to pray and began filling orders. One of the community members gasped as she looked across shipping to a side window and saw the front right side of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages strewn with debris from the Tabernacle and damaged trees. We poured out of Our Lady’s Tabernacle and was surprised at the damage and havoc, though contained, that the interior wind or tornado had worked in its powerful strike. It looked as though a tip of a tornado made close enough ground contact for only a very brief moment. But in the small moment broke limestone columns, blew stones, and destroyed the arbor on the front right side with sustained roof damage and more. The limestone columns from the arbor in front of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages were strewn down in chunks while another one-third of the columns still standing on the front arbor were broken loose and/or left leaning or standing off their base caps and tops.
Everything stopped at St. Joseph’s statue at the front of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages. One beam was suspended above his head, held only by a half-inch into a niche that kept it from falling and breaking the statue. The weight of the columns as they fell did more damage to the blue stone walkway and whatever they struck. The damage could have been much greater, but we are grateful for the very brief, intense wind or tornado’s split second of striking, and then departing as if ordered away, which stopped further damage. The preliminary estimated cost in damages to repair the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages is $50,000.00 to $70,000.00.
We have always been self-insured as we could never afford to cover completely the cost of yearly insurance premiums. We appeal to you for an emergency tornado fund to repair the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages. The damage to the Tabernacle does not surprise us after just having Our Lady here and consecrating the Tabernacle to Her to help transmit the messages to the whole world. We know all destruction is of darkness because of the fall that began in the Garden of Eden. But we have hope in the protection from fallenness that the damage was contained to the front corner, and copper roof area of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, as if a wall stopped it in its track. With great progress in the retooling taking place, this is the last thing we wanted to spend time and effort to raise funds for, but it’s part of the spiritual life. The visionaries have said when you consecrate yourself to Our Lady, satan knows he can’t have you, but he will do everything to make your life miserable. By what the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages is doing, and what it will do in the future, we can discern the consecration of the Tabernacle to Our Lady on March 22, 2011, was hated by darkness. So, he will inflict what he can, and Our Lady showed Her sign of stopping him. Thank you, Mary.
Please be generous and respond immediately as we must start on repairs immediately, especially to the roof. Thank you and please always remember this mission in prayer as we remember you daily. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help with the tornado damage.