Green Bay bishop becomes first in US to approve Marian apparitions

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CHAMPION, Wis. (CNS) -- Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay has approved the Marian apparitions seen by Adele Brise in 1859, making the apparitions of Mary that occurred some 18 miles northeast of Green Bay the first in the United States to receive approval of a diocesan bishop.

Bishop Ricken made the announcement during Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. More than 250 invited guests filled the shrine chapel to hear Bishop Ricken read the official decree on the authenticity of the apparitions. He also issued a second decree, formally approving the shrine as a diocesan shrine.

The decree on the apparitions' authenticity comes nearly two years after Bishop Ricken opened a formal investigation. On Jan. 9, 2009, he appointed three theologians to study the history of them.

"They are all theologians with a particular concentration and expertise in the theology of the Blessed Virgin Mary," said Father John Doerfler, vicar general and chancellor of the diocese. Although the three theologians were not named by the diocese, Father Doerfler said two of the three are internationally recognized and they have "general experience in examining apparitions."




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