Designed by Blessed Carlo Acutis, the exhibit “The Appeals of Our Lady: Apparitions and Marian Shrines of the World” will be hosted in September by St. Mary Parish, Barnegat – its first appearance in the United States.
The display will be available to view from 12 – 6 p.m. on Sept. 9 and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sept. 10 in the parish center, on the campus of St. Mary of the Pines Church, at 100 Bishop Ave., Manahawkin.
“Each person who sees the panels says ‘oh, this needs to be seen and shared,’” said parishioner Michelle Bockin. “Just the sheer joy, receiving each message that Mary has given – they say, ‘I didn’t expect this – what an incredible gift, and so filled with grace!’”
Blessed Carlo, the beatified Italian teen who also designed the Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibition – which has been hosted now on five continents – was named in 2022 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as patron of Catholic schools and young people of the Diocese of Trenton.
After the Eucharistic Miracles exhibit was so well received by St. Mary Parish, Bockin – who is involved in parish evangelization and faith formation – came across a link for the Marian exhibit. Blessed Carlo began The Appeals of Our Lady exhibit in 2006 but was unable to complete the project before he succumbed to fulminant leukemia. It was completed in 2014 by supporters of his work.
After much correspondence and with the support of St. Mary pastor, Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, the parish council and evangelization committee, Bockin connected with the exhibit’s international display coordinator, Patrick Brueggen, of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wisc. According to Brueggen, the exhibit had not yet been printed and displayed in America.
“Anyone can have the display panels printed for a fee,” Bockin explained. “We looked into purchasing through the parish … in the meantime, one of our parishioners stepped up and offered to pay for it as a gift to the parish.”
Msgr. Tuzeneu’s intention, Bockin said, is to share the gift of the Marian apparition display with other parishes of the Diocese, once a means of transportation can be determined.
“That was part of the motivation – I thought as long as we have them, it would be nice to share them with other parishes,” Msgr. Tuzeneu explained. “Like everyone else, we’re trying to evangelize and [bring attention to] the National Eucharistic Revival.”
The printed panels differ in size, with separate and multiple panels for many of the apparitions, similar in format to the Eucharistic Miracles exhibit.
“We’ll have them displayed and create a bit of atmosphere so that people can walk through at their leisure for no charge,” he said. “It’s a beautiful exhibit … I wasn’t sure what to expect when we unwrapped them; people will absolutely be impressed.”
The apparition exhibit website states, “We hope, like [Blessed] Carlo, that through this exhibition, many will find their way to God so that they can become light bearers to all those who are still in darkness.”
Parishes interested in hosting the exhibit can call St. Mary Parish office, 609-698-5531.