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Ghanaians flock to see ‘miracle’

BBC, UK
Nov. 2, 2004
Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, BBC, Dansoman, Accra
news.bbc.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday November 3, 2004

Thousands of people in Ghana’s capital, have been thronging to a Catholic Church where they claim the image of Jesus Christ has appeared on a wall.

They compare the image to that of the Biblical Virgin Mary who is said to have appeared at Lourdes, in France.

What they can see on one of the rough marble-stones inside a grotto in the church grounds is what looks like a human face the size of an adult’s palm.

On Monday, the police had to be called in to prevent a stampede.

The image is more clearly discernible from afar than up close.

Miracle?

There are two candles flickering in front of the stone.

Some visitors to the grounds of the Margaret Mary Catholic Church at Dansoman, a suburb in the western part of Accra, reach out and touch the image, believing they will be blessed, or healed where doctors have failed.

Others simply kneel and pray. Some visitors have come all the way from Kumasi, the second city, almost 300km away.

Reverend Father John Straathof, the Dutch Parish Priest, said a member of the congregation drew his attention to the image on Saturday.

As the story spread, the crowds grew.

But Father Straathof was cautious about drawing conclusions. “Yes, it does look like a face,” he said, “but I don’t want to conclude that it’s a miracle.

“If people come and see it and they believe it, and it makes them pray, that’s okay.”

He said he hadn’t seen it previously, but that didn’t mean that the rock might have looked like that before Saturday.

‘Potato chip’

Many visitors and members of Father Straathof’s congregation were a lot less ambiguous, saying that this was an epiphany.

For some, it’s a sign that the end of the world would come before the end of the year.

One woman, speaking in between Hail Marys, said Jesus had chosen to appear at Dansoman because it was an unassuming place, and that this was in tune with his teachings about modesty and humility.

Others doubted there was anything of spiritual significance here.

One man thought there was no way Christ would make an appearance at Dansoman. There were far too many drinking bars and sleazy joints here, he said.

A taxi driver put it down as a poor painting by a prankster.

Another said if you looked hard enough at anything you’ll see faces in the clouds, in the grains of a wooden desk, a potato chip, or a marble-stone inside a church.

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