Diocese: Image seen as Mary not likely a divine sign

Diocese: Image seen as Mary not likely a divine sign

Representatives for the Diocese of Providence issued a statement Monday on the “image at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church.”

“The Catholic Church is always very cautious in evaluating alleged miracles,” reads the statement. “It is highly unlikely that the image of the Virgin Mary that individuals are seeing on the cross of the Church of the Presentation in North Providence is the result of divine intervention.”

They add, “nonetheless, God often works through ordinary means, and if the image on the cross, even if it is the result of natural causes, inspires individuals to a renewed faith in God and greater charity for their neighbor, that’s a positive message to be welcomed and embraced.”

Catholics are also reminded that “the best way to express their love and devotion for our Blessed Mother is to attend Holy Mass this Thursday, Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, a holy day of obligation.”

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NORTH PROVIDENCE - Brian Trambowicz was driving by the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary one day this summer when he says that Mary herself, the mother of Jesus, presented herself to him.

Trambowicz, and now several other parishioners at the church on Mineral Spring Avenue, say Mary has shown up in a special way during this 100th anniversary year of the church, revealing herself in silhouette form on the cross at the top of the church's bell tower.

"It appeared to me right here," Trambowicz told The Breeze, standing across the street from the Catholic church located at 1081 Mineral Spring Ave. "I said to myself, 'did I see what I thought I saw?' And these goose pimples came out all over my body."

Further inspections have only solidified what he saw on that summer evening, said Trambowicz.

"It's a full silhouette of Mary," said the lifelong North Providence resident. "I've driven by here 5,000 times and never seen it."

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Trambowicz said that the darkened silhouette of Mary looks like it was formed through the weathering of the metal on the cross. He has no way of knowing whether it's been there for decades or just appeared recently.

"It could have gotten here the night before or it could have been there a while," he said. "I don't know how all that works."

Trambowicz said the image of Mary "jumped out" at him as he was passing the church and praying, as is often his habit. The image looked like it was just inches from his face, he said.

"It literally projected off the cross," he said. "It was meant to be revealed to me that night."

Trambowicz said he knew right away that he'd seen something "powerful," but still questioned himself. It wasn't until he reached Power Road that he decided to turn around to look at the cross again.

Just up the street from the Presentation Church, at the intersection of Mineral Spring Avenue and Rte. 146, Trambowicz said he was "blown away" by the sign out in front of Michael Florist. The latest inspirational saying jumped out at him after what he'd seen.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see," read the sign.

As with so many other sightings, like the famous face of Mary in the toast, this one means more to people like him who believe so strongly in who Mary is, said Trambowicz.

Though many people he's spoken to about the image see the baby Jesus in Mary's arms, said Trambowicz, he does not see that part of the picture in Mary's side profile.

Church members believe Mary's appearance has a lot to do with this year being the 100th anniversary of a church that is named for the apocryphal recounting of the consecration of the child Mary to God in the temple of Jerusalem.

"We all see it," said Donna Jacovoni, Eucharistic minister charged with distributing sacraments at the church. "She's been watching us for 100 years and she's trying to say that she'll be watching us for another 100 years."

Others at the church are also convinced.

"When Brian showed me I looked up and yep, it looks just like Mary," said Paul Capracotta, who works maintenance at the church.

"I see the Virgin Mary on the cross as plain as day," added Anthony Coccia Sr., a friend of Trambowicz.

Trambowicz said he's had "plenty of spiritual awakenings," but the discovery of Mary's image at the top of his church has been one of the most impactful of his life, strengthening his faith in God and the plan for his life.