Feast of The Miracle of Ocotlán – Our Lord of Mercy – 3 October. This is a major miracle that you’ve probably never heard of, the appearance of Christ in the clouds, in Ocotlan, Mexico, in 1847. This historical event – approved by the Archdiocese of Guadalajara in 1911 – is known as “The Prodigy of Ocotlán“
On Saturday 2 October 1847, a massive earthquake hit the region of the town of Ocotlán, Mexico; much of the city was destroyed and 40 people died. The next day, Sunday 3 October 1847, before a Mass was celebrated in the cemetery of the Chapel of La Purísima Concepción in the city of Ocotlán, more than 2,000 people witnessed a perfect image of Jesus Christ Crucified that appeared in the skies for more than 30 minutes.
Before Mass began that 3 October which would be presided over by the parochial vicar, Fr Julián Navarro, two very white clouds began to join in the north-west of the sky and in the middle of them the image of Christ appeared.
Those present and those in nearby towns were moved, made acts of contrition and shouted for “Mercy to the Lord.” For this reason this Christ was named the “Lord of Mercy” and in his honour, in September 1875, a new Church dedicated to Him was blessed and consecrated.
Among the faithful who witnessed the prodigy were also Fr Julián Martín del Campo, Parish Priest of the community and Antonio Jiménez, the Mayor of the city. Both sent letters to their respective superiors telling what happened.
In addition, after the miracle, a file was prepared with 30 eyewitness testimonies by order of the layman Lic. Miguel Castellanos. Fifty years later, in 1897, under the order of the then Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mons. Pedro Loza y Pardavé, a new file was drawn up with 30 more people, including 5 priests.
On 29 September 1911, the Archbishop of Guadalajara at that time. Mnsgr José de Jesús Ortiz y Rodríguez. signed the document that endorsed the appearance of Jesus Christ in Ocotlán and the worship and veneration that the faithful of that town carry out to the venerated image of the Lord of Mercy located in the Sanctuary of the same name.
“We must recognise as a perfectly proven historical fact the appearance of the blessed image of Jesus Christ Crucified (…) and that it could not have been the work of hallucination or fraud, since it was verified in broad daylight, in view of more than two thousand people, ” said the Archbishop.
He also pointed out that so that the Mercy of the Lord is never forgotten, the faithful should “congregate in the way possible, after purifying their consciences with the holy sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion and solemnly swear in the presence of God, for himself and his descendants, that year by year they will celebrate the anniversary of 3 October. ”
In 1912, after approval and to comply with the provisions of the Archbishop of Guadalajara, the public festivities began in honour of the Lord of Mercy, remembering the Prodigy of 1847. Currently the festivities last 13 days, from September 20 to September 3. October.
In 1997, John Paul II sent his Apostolic Blessing to the town of Ocotlán for the 150th anniversary of the prodigy and asked to celebrate their festivals in a holy way, living the sacraments.
To commemorate the event, a monument, which is entirely carved in pink quarry. On the eastern altar there is a scene of the destruction of the town by the 1847 earthquake and on the western altar there is a representation of the prodigy with the Lord of Mercy in the centre. It has a height of approximately 20 meters.
Prayer to Our Lord of Mercy
Oh Lord of Mercy,
Father and King of joyful Ocotlán;
our assembled people adore You
and a fervent song raise to You.
For our people sinned
and their sin provoked divine justice
and a tremor left nothing but ruins
of what was the lovely Ocotlán
but the people repented
and from Heavens,
You came lovingly
and with outstretched arms
You gave us, a safe haven of peace …