Jul. 30, 2001: El Nuevo Herald Digital, Foros de Discusión, Colombia & Cuba; Jul. 30, 2001: Newsgroups alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic, fidonet.r_catholic, han.soc.religion.christianity.catholic, soc.schools.catholic, talk.religion.christian.roman-catholic, tnn.religion.catholic. Aug. 14, 2001: Diario Las Américas, Miami

Colombia: The "miracle" in Almaguer Renews Hope

Gonzalo Guimaraens

On the fifth and cruelest attack against the small town of Almaguer, in the Colombian Andes, Province of Cauca, at the southwestern section of the country of Colombia, the communist guerillas forced open the doors to the Catholic temple, dynamited the alter, the entire church and the parochial home. Shortly after, explosions in succession destroyed dozens of homes in the inner city area.

Out of fear from the attack, the afflicted and defenseless inhabitants ran towards the church that was in ruins, painfully they acknowledged that the old wooden alter, which was brought over by Spaniards four centuries ago, was completely destroyed along with the Tabernacle and the Hosts; sacrilege which subsequently caused the forceful excommunication of the guerrillas by Archbishop of Popayán, Monsignior Iván Antonio Marín López.

Nonetheless, to the unspeakable astonishment of those present, the most illustrious and oldest inhabitant of Almaguer, the pious image of the Virgin of Miracles, patron of the town, remained unscathed among the rubble. Many cried out of pure emotions faced with a scene reminiscent of what had occurred on Calvary. During the darkest hour, our Lord Jesus Christ consented to everything being done against Him, dying on the Cross to redeem the human race, but He did not allow that his Holy Mother, whom remained standing with Him, along with the holy women, were not even touched.

The marvelous supernatural protection of the patron of Almaguer is seen by its inhabitants as a "miracle", although of course awaiting the verdict from the Church. "It was something sublime, something divine that renews our faith in order to go forward again", exclaimed Mayor Fabio Gómez Renjifo, while he condemned the guerillas' attack as "almost satanic".

The faith of the inhabitants of Almaguer, restrained in the adversity and confirmed by the supernatural episode, made them pull through the attack which occurred last March 31st. They commenced rebuilding the town with a renewed spirit and are preparing to commemorate within the next few days the 450 years since the founding of the town, by real order, on the 19th of August in 1551.

In some ways, the "via crucis" of the remote Almaguer is for many an image of what is taking place in Colombia, damaged and almost completely destroyed by cruel communist narco-guerillas, whom as just denounced by the Archbishop of Bogotá, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, "fell to infamy and cynicism", participating in a process of "peace" based "on incoherence and on lies". The "miracle" of Almaguer should be a cause of motivation for all of Colombia, of trust, and of hope in the help of the Providence for the defeat of the guerillas and the rebirth of the Nation. The Virgin does not abandon those that truly believe and trust in Her.

During these past few days, in the same Province of Cauca, a few kilometers from Almaguer, something is taking place which, although it is of a different nature, it is also edifying and merits being known worldwide. It relates to an ultimatum given to the guerrillas of the "FARC" by more than 7,000 natives of the town of Silvia, that the guerillas immediately release, without any conditions, three German experts who were recently kidnapped. Said German experts were teaching the Indians to substitute illegal crops. According to the newspaper "El Tiempo", the natives, on foot, having only their walking sticks and their just indignation as their weapons against the criminal guerillas, are going through the mountains in the region in order to obtain the freedom of their three benefactors - an example of courage for Colombia and the world.