India to LA Mission Report - Part II
Monday, January 16, 2006, Bangalore
The flight from New Delhi to Bangalore lasted about 2 ½ hours. At the airport were Mary Abraham and Sebastian Alcanther from the local group and the newly settled in Bangalore Greek couple, Antonis Tectonidis and his wife Teresa. They were the ones that invited Vassula to speak in Bangalore during the Unity Week.
We arrived at Antonis and Teresa’s house that will be housing in time as well the Beth Myriam. As they are old friends, there was a lot of catching up to do. The hours were flying away and we had to get ready, as Antonis had invited a pastor from the Church of South India (CSI), Rev. S. Arokiasamy and his wife, for dinner. They arrived along with Mary, Sebastian and Jacinta from the prayer group. Antonis introduced Rev. Arokiasamy to the messages just a week before, but it was as if he had known them for a long time. This was obvious from the prayer he said to bless the dinner – thanking Jesus for bringing Vassula and blessing her mission. The night went by with a lot of sharing in a very friendly tone.
|Dinner at Antonis and Teresa's house with Rev. Arokiasamy and TLIG friends
Tuesday, January, 17, 2006, Bangalore
The next morning at 10.30 am an Ecumenical introductory meeting for Vassula and the messages was arranged in the Holy Trinity Church of CSI. Rev. S. Arokiasamy as the presbyter of the Church welcomed every one of the 23 pastors and religious present: 10 Rev. Frs. from Church of South India (CSI), 1 from the Mar Thoma Church, 2 Roman Catholic sisters and 10 Lutheran pastors from Denmark. The Lutheran pastors were led by the Holy Spirit to visit this Church earlier that day so Rev. Arokiasamy told them about Vassula and her presentation and they were interested to stay on and attend. It was a great surprise to find out later on that they knew Th. Dr. Niels Christian Hvidt, who is a Visiting Scholar in the University of Notre Dame, USA, one of the witnesses in TLIG and precious help while in Rome with Cardinal Ratzinger. They had attended one of his witnessing meetings in Denmark so they were a bit familiar with the messages but they praised the Good Lord for having guided them to hear Vassula’s testimony.
|Rev. Arokiasamy presenting Vassula
| Vassula during the Ecumenical introductory meeting|
Rev. Arokiasamy provided lunch at his house right next to his Church and had some time with Vassula to discuss in more depth the issues of Unity.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006, Bangalore
Happy Birthday, Vassula! A very significant day to celebrate her birthday: the 1st day of Unity Week and until some time ago, the feast day of the Seat of Peter. We should be aware that dates in God’s agenda are not by chance.
The day went by with Antonis and Teresa having to attend early to St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral where the meeting was at 6.30 pm. It would take place outside as the attendance was expected to be more than the Cathedral could take in.
There was a band that preceded the group of priests that accompanied Vassula to the stage. A group of local girl dancers performed their welcome for Vassula and opened her way to the bottom of the stage, showering her with flower petals. This is customary in India to welcome guests.
|Band preceding Vassula and the priests to the meeting
On the stage with Vassula were 5 Roman Catholic priests, Fr. John Solomon, Fr. Pradeep Segueira, Fr. Terence Fransz, Fr. John Amalan, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph Francis and 1 of CSI, Rev. S. Arokiasamy. Rev. George Varghese from Mar Thoma Church and another 4 Rev. pastors from the CSI Church, Rev. G. Wilson, Rev. John Millon, Rev. Victor Thomas and Rev. P.K. Samuel and many religious sisters were present in addition to some unidentified ordained persons in the audience.
Local women and girls greet folk dance
Vassula with a traditional
Vassula and the clergy on|
Vassula with 3 RC priests and one from CSI (Church of South India)
Jacinta, from the local prayer group, together with Fr. John Solomon, Parish priest and Dean of the Cathedral, intro-
duced Vassula. Following, Fr. Pradeep Segueira, expressed how moved to tears he was because of the tone of sincerity, when a few months before the election of the present Pope, he read about the correspondence between Vassula and Cardinal Ratzinger on what authority she had to speak about revelation, known as the "Questions and Answers." He said he believes the Holy Spirit was at work when this correspondence was going on and that he’s privileged to have met her. He concluded by announcing that today is her birthday. Everybody clapped, stood and sang the wishing song of "Happy Birthday" to her.
Vassula in return thanked the priests for assisting for this meeting for Unity. She asked everyone to stand and pray for Unity, explaining that "Unity is not just for unity in the Church, reconciliation in the Church, but it is also meant for families, between friends, nations, etc. It’s not just unity and reconciliation in the Church."Vassula read the Prayer for Unity by Fr. Sergius Bulkakov (which Jesus indicated to put with His Message):
"O Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour,
You did promise to abide with us always.
You do call all Christians to draw near and partake of Your Body and Blood,
But our sin has divided us and we have no power to partake of Your Holy Eucharist together.
We confess this our sin and we pray to You, forgive us and help us to serve the ways of reconciliation, according to Your Will.
Kindle our hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit; give us the spirit of Wisdom and faith,
of daring and of patience, of humility and firmness, of love and of repentance,
through the prayers of the most blessed Mother of God and of all the saints. Amen."
Vassula continued by reading the prayer to the Father, Jesus gave her on July 8, 1990:
Father all Merciful,
let those who hear and hear again yet never understand,
hear Your Voice this time and understand that it is You the Holy of Holies;
open the eyes of those who see and see, yet never perceive,
to see with their eyes this time Your Holy Face and Your Glory,
place Your Finger on their heart so that their heart may open and understand Your Faithfulness,
I pray and ask you all these things Righteous Father
so that all the nations be converted and be healed
through the Wounds of Your Beloved Son Jesus Christ; Amen
"When God speaks it’s always for the benefit of the Church. God intervenes in these times where the world has become aggressive and wicked with wars and hatred. God looks at His people, and, as He is Father, He intervenes," Vassula said. She continued: "20 years ago God approached me when I was not a practicing Christian but I was enjoining what was pleasing me; playing tennis, painting and exhibiting, modeling clothes for fun with friends, filling my life with my things. And I didn’t have God in my life. I never went to Church and I never prayed. This is to show you God’s Mercy. I asked the Lord in the beginning many times: ‘why did You come to me to talk to me and call me’ because I was surprised. The Lord said: ‘Did you not know that wretchedness attracts Me? Through your wretchedness I shall show My Mercy to this world.’"
Vassula continued explaining, "God’s calling today to a deep metanoia (repentance), fruit of humility that leads us to reconciliation and unity. We, the people of the churches, must realize that we are living in constant sin, the sin of our division. Scripture says: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.’ Mt. 12,25. Even if this division did not come directly from us but from our forefathers, still, we are keeping it alive so long as we remain divided. We cannot say that God is pleased when the shepherds are still separated. We cannot deign to talk about unity without going through repentance and put into practice the two greatest commandments. It will be as though we want to construct a house without laying down first its foundations. The foundations of unity should be humility and divine love and the conversion of our hearts. We have to ask ourselves: ‘are we looking upon unity according to our own mind, and this is why perhaps we are still separated, or are we seeking it as the Spirit of God wants it, but we do not agree to it?’ In many messages in the beginning the Lord said: "Lower even more now your voice so you may hear only Mine; lower your head, so that Mine would be seen; lower yourself so that I can lift you up to Me;" September 26, 1991
This is the dying to one’s self and each church should be willing to die to its ego and to its rigidity and then through this act of humility, Christ’s presence will be shining in them. The churches should allow the Holy Spirit Who is the inner source of Christian Unity, to renew and fragrance them first, then in their turn they will fragrance nation after nation, bringing them all to be one in the Truth, thus perfuming the Mystical Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit in the messages calls out to His Bride for Unity and says:
"Pray, that I, the utter fullness of God, the utterance of your spirit, the light in your eyes, descend in your midst to show the world how wrong it was, to show to the churches their iniquity of their division and how, although they declare daily that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all, are uncharitable with one another. We (the Holy Trinity) cannot say: "you have done everything to preserve the unity I offered you in the beginning when you were still a child and in My Arms;"
Today you say: "I am not a child any longer and I can walk by myself." And since you stepped out of My Embrace and accustomed your steps to walk your own way...O child of the Father! Fruit of the Son! My City and My Bride! Your Fragrance left you...are there going to be any survivors left when I will descend in full force?" November 9, 1994
Vassula concluded the part of Unity speech saying that, "Unity will come only when all of us will truly begin to love Jesus Christ." She continued by sharing her experience in the beginning with her Guardian Angel and how he guided her to find a Bible and read. She opened in random to read but couldn’t understand any word, anything. Through this God wanted to show her she was in darkness, she couldn’t see, totally blind to the Word of God. That made her cry bitterly, with great remorse. And the Angel told her: "Look what you’ve done in the past and have offended God." For 3 weeks she was shown all scenes of small and big things. She didn’t see them in a normal state or as we see them, but with God’s Eyes, how He sees them. And they were atrocious. And again she cried bitterly for recognizing her ‘leprosy’ and guilt, her wretchedness and being unworthy. She saw how she was taking for granted all of God’s blessings in her daily life – as we all do.
"And what are God’s blessings? Our life, our children, our family, our clothes, our health, the roof above our head, our food is a blessing; our work is a blessing, etc. But we don’t see that. We think that with our own force and health we manage to do all these things. That’s why we must die to ourselves and our ego and bless God daily for these blessings. That was one of the things that offended God: I did not thank Him enough, I did not praise Him enough, I did not glorify Him enough for all that He had given me in my life.
After that purification Jesus came as the Sacred Heart. We Orthodox people don’t have the Sacred Heart devotion. We honour Jesus as the Almighty, the Pantocrator but we don’t have the devotion to the Sacred Heart. He came because first the devotion to the Sacred Heart is an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and secondly to show that He does not differentiate us from one another. It’s us, the Church is not divided, it’s the people of the Church that are divided."
She emphasized on being united and one with Christ, like the branch and the vine, and shared one of her experiences: when she was meditating one morning about being together with Jesus through her day, she said to Jesus: "Jesus, it’s time that we have to go and get my sister." So they had to take the bus. While in the bus, the conductor comes for the tickets, and she says: "one ticket please." So she took the ticket and she looked at Jesus and said: "You see, we’ve had him; we are two and I took one ticket." And He said: "What!? Aren’t we united and one? Therefore one ticket is enough."
Vassula spoke about repentance: "Repentance is the gate that leads souls from darkness into light. It should be done in such a way that the soul repudiates not only its evil acts but even its malicious thoughts. It is an act of humility. The Lord says that the humbler we get to be the easier His Holy Spirit will find Its way in us. If we give Him this space He will shatter all impurities and imperfections that confront Him in order for this perfect union with Him.
About prayer being a powerful weapon, Vassula quoted Our Lady from the messages: "...your answer to your problems can be found in a constant prayer; let this be your weapon, pray with your heart, dialogue with God in this way - Satan flees every time you invoke God with love..." August 2, 1991 "...your prayers can change the world; your prayers can obtain God's Graces for the conversion of sinners and the more conversion the more prayers will be made and heard for other conversions; prayers are powerful; this is why I insist of you not to abandon your prayers and your sacrifices, the faithful are needed now more than ever." November 24, 1991
"Jesus has said in the messages that the greater our love is, the more our knowledge of God is complete. The more our love is ardent for God, the more our prayers are ardent. The more perfect our love is, the more our life is holy. So, in Judgement Day we will all be judged according to the measure of the love we had here on earth." Vassula concluded saying that all of the above are just a drop from the 12 volumes she has received in these 20 years. "All these and many more are teachings and none of them are of doom and gloom. God always finishes His messages with hope."
Intercessory prayers for unity followed and Rev. Msgr. Joseph Francis, Vicar General of the archdiocese of Bangalore, honoured the meeting by giving the final blessing of the gathering. A healing service continued with Vassula praying for all the people present. Many of the people gathered around her while she was leaving the stage. They wanted to see from close up the person that brought them such a message directly from God. As she was walking away to go down the narrow steps of the Cathedral, the lack of sufficient light and the big crowd that gathered in no time around her, pushing to be closer made her lose her step and Vassula fell spraining her right ankle. Although she was held by the arm, this didn’t stop her from tumbling down the 4 steps. It was a very strange fall. Vassula said she saw "the four steps as only two." Immediately ice was provided to stop the swelling and she was helped to go to one of the classrooms the Sisters of St Anne had next to the Cathedral. A nurse showed up and nursed Vassula’s foot, and she was accompanied next door to the dining room where Fr. John Solomon had prepared a dinner for his special guest on her birthday. Many priests joined as well and many TLIG friends.
|Vassula and clergy after the meeting
| Celebrating Vassula's birthday and blowing the traditional candle|
Thursday, January 19, 2006, Chennai
Despite her wrapped swollen foot and a slight pain, Vassula was ready to follow the program of the day: early in the morning with Antonis and Teresa, we all flew to Chennai to meet with Fr. Prasad Ignatius. Fr. Prasad is the spiritual guide of Mariama, an Indian seer for many years. After arriving at the house, we were offered lunch in a very hospitable manner. Later, Vassula shared with all the friends that had arrived what the latest developments with the CDF and TLIG in general were, leaving everyone happy to hear how the apostolate of TLIG had progressed in all aspects. For some time later on, Vassula met privately with Mariama and Fr. Prasad. Vassula later met privately with Mariama and Fr. Prasad for some time. Vassula and Mariama then went in another room to speak in private about certain specific messages.
In the evening we were taken to the airport to catch the hourly flight back to Bangalore.
Friday, January 20, 2006, Kolkata
With another early morning, we flew for Kolkata. We arrived about 12.30 pm and Fr. Stephen Raphael and Fr. Sunil Rosario were expecting us and took us to the hotel. The rest of the day was for Vassula to relax and rest her foot as, from the next day, the meetings were starting again.
Saturday, January 21, 2006, Kolkata
The program for Unity Octave Prayers (meetings) wrote: Jan. 21, Saturday: St. Thomas’ Church – A Day with clergy & Religious – Ecumenical - 10 am - 1 pm Vassula will address the group. This and tomorrow’s program were organized by Fr. Sunil Rosario, Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue.
We arrived with Fr. Stephen Raphael and Fr. Sunil Rosario, on time, as always. The Church was half full with children from a medium school (!!!) and some laypeople sitting at the back. Fr. Michel, the parish priest of St. Thomas’ Church was the only Roman Catholic priest present and Rev. Shaha from CNI (Church of North India). At one point we thought we had understood wrongly the title of this day’s meeting. After Fr. Sunil’s and Fr. Stephen’s presentation, Vassula came up to address the people – and she was shining! She started saying that Jesus wanted the children. He wants us to be like these children if we want to receive what Jesus says. Her speech changed completely: from Ecumenism and Unity, she focused on prayer, intimacy and our love for Jesus.
|Vassula witnessing to the children
|The attentive children
The children were very attentive: leaning in front, they were sitting as they were drawn even physically to what Vassula was sharing filled with an inner joy!
A very special witnessing, revealing the joy and happiness of our Lord in front of these children. Even the tone of Vassula’s voice was sweeter then ever!
Immediately after this meeting, Vassula was invited at the parish house where some Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order) had come just to meet Vassula from their area – 150 Kms away - close to the borders, together with some friends of TLIG in Kolkata.
| Vassula, the Missionaries of Charity and some TLIG friends|
The Sisters of Lavinia House offered us lunch. This is a house for dropout girls and they are given training in Secretarial services with typing, shorthand, computer and CBSC syllabus. Vassula spoke to the girls in open and they sang for their special guest and were very enthusiastic about Vassula’s experiences with Jesus.
At Lavinia House with Fr. Sunil, Fr. Stephen and 2 Sisters
Girls listening to Vassula at Lavinia House
At 3.00 pm the appointment with the Archbishop of Kolkata, Rev. Lucas Sirkar, was kept on time. Vassula had met with the Archbishop again back in 2003. An hour’s casual meeting shed light to many issues and at the end His Grace asked for some photos to be taken with him.
| Vassula, Archbishop of Kolkata, Rev. Lucas and Catarina|
Sunday, January 22, 2006, Kolkata
Fr. Sunil, who had to present Vassula in tonight’s meeting, suddenly lost his voice because of an allergy and a cold.
St. Paul’s Cathedral: Ecumenical Prayer service for all denominations, open to the public at 5.30 pm. Vassula was to address the gathering – Archbishop Lucas Sirkar to preach. No photos were allowed in the Cathedral, to help preserve the building and art, since its history goes back some centuries.
Vassula was given only 15 minutes to talk about Ecumenism and Spirituality. As Fr. Sunil couldn’t introduce Vassula and of course there was not enough time to spend, Vassula took the stand after some hymns. In the presence of the Archbishop and 8 Roman Catholic priests, Vassula witnessed what Jesus has given her about Ecumenism and Unity in a very concise manner: We, the people of the churches, must realize that we are living in constant sin, the sin of our division. Even if this division did not come directly from us but from our forefathers, still, we are keeping it alive so long as we remain divided. We cannot say that God is pleased when the shepherds are still separated. We cannot deign to talk about unity without going through repentance and put into practice the two greatest commandments. It will be as though we want to construct a house without laying down first its foundations. The foundations of unity should be humility and divine love and the conversion of our hearts. For how could we believe that we could reach unity if we do not repent and live fully the two greatest commandments that are based on the law of love? The seeds of unity would be constantly sown in an arid and infertile land and no seedlings will sprout in that sort of aridity, which represents the hardness of our heart. Each church should be willing to die to its ego and to its rigidity and then through this act of humility, Christ’s presence will be shining in them. Each Church has to go through an unceasing repentance and cleave itself on Christ, joining in His love of mankind. With this act of humility, the churches’ past and present failures will be washed away and unity will be accomplished.
If we have become divided and torn asunder, it is because of our intolerance with each other and our spirit of pride. We have chased the distinctive sign of faith, which is divine love, as Christ said about the virtue of love, "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another." Jn 13,35. Yet, Christ’s love compels Him to deploy limitless mercy on our division, this division that brought upon us this aridity and harshness of heart devastating the Church and bringing a general apostasy in the Christian world. The world now, apostatized as it is, has no place for God, since it is occupied with a sort of self-realization. The world today refuses to give glory to God and we are living in a time when every good is transformed into evil. The Christians are ceaselessly being de-christianized because of our division, either that, or they are constantly falling into error.
Furthermore, how do we expect the Church to be credible in front of the rest of the world’s eyes when it preaches peace, love, unity, brotherhood and reconciliation to countries that are massacring their people, when we, at the same time, in our own left, are massacring the Body of Christ by throwing ever so often venomous arrows on one another? We, the royal household of Christ, have bartered our glory for shame. God is calling all of us, and inviting us to be one,...so that the world may believe...Jn 17,21. Only when the Church will be healed by uniting and regaining her strength, would she be able to reconcile the world to God. At the same time, consolidated, as she would be, she will be able to overturn all the dark powers that darkened the world and the dominion of the evil one that keeps us scattered..."
The Litany of the Presence of Christ was next, followed by hymns and the Proclamation of the Word – reading from the Bible. The sermon was given by Archbishop Lucas Sirkar, emphasizing on the presence of God in the Tabernacle and that the union in Christ is in the Eucharist.
Vassula was given a second opportunity – another 5 minutes - to share the messages for Unity:
"...today any delicacy from the part of My creatures to restore My tottering House touches Me profoundly; any step towards Unity, all heaven rejoices; any prayer offered for the restoration of My Body, My Father’s wrath diminishes; any gathering in My Name for Unity, My blessings are poured out on those sharing these meetings " October 5, 1994.
Vassula continued: "The Sign of the Times that we should discern today, is the Call of the Holy Spirit for reconciliation and unity, and to go forward into action. Our duty to God is not only to respond to the Call of Unity, but to put it into action, otherwise we will be held accountable." Vassula concluded: "In order that God accomplishes His plan in us, we have to remember to remain totally effaced, crucifying our flesh, our ego and our will. Only then, God, Who is the distributor of all gifts, will enrich and adorn our soul with royal prodigality leading us to see His Will, for He will only demonstrate His power after having brought us to naught. Our Lord says: "...each church first should be willing to die to its ego, to its pride and to its rigidity" and then through this act of humility, we can attain unity. Jesus Christ united together by His Blood, so why are we maintaining our division and keeping it alive? Has Christ not reconciled Gentile and Jew and put them to worship together one Christ? Has Christ not ripped open the veil in two, which separated God and man, reconciling the creature and the Creator? So what could Christ have done more that He has not done? Why then to this day churches still barricade themselves and erect walls to keep alive this division? If only they would lay aside their fears, their rigidity and their own interests, today we would not be talking about unity anymore because we would already be celebrating the Holy Eucharist around one altar."
At the end of the Ecumenical Prayer Service, in his thanksgiving word, the parish priest thanked everyone, especially Vassula for bringing the prophetic word to all. Tea was offered afterwards to all present, an opportunity for everyone to meet Vassula from close and have some photos.
We drove to meet the Greek Orthodox parish priest, Fr. Andreas Mondal, in the Holy Transfiguration Church in Kalighat, Kolkata. His origin is from Bangladesh. When asked, he said he knew about Vassula – but he didn’t say from where. He was very pleasant.
| Vassula and Fr. Andreas, Greek Orthodox Priest|
Monday, January 23, 2006, Kolkata
A free day, and Fr. Sunil thought it would be nice to visit the oldest church built in 1499 of our Lady of Bandel, some kilometers out of Kolkata. On the way, we stopped over the Presbytery of the Sacred Heart in Chandannagar, a very old church, where Fr. Sunil built a monument to Calvary in 2000. The spot where the Calvary is built was known as the ‘Ground of Sanctuary.’ If the captives during the Portuguese settlement could reach this spot, they were freed from bondage. Fr. A Ambrose spent some time with us over a cup of tea. We learned that Chandannagar was once a French colony. In India, Pondicherry and Chandannagar were the French colonies until 1950.
|The Calvary in Chandannagar
We had lunch at the Convent of St. Joseph’s of Cluny. The convent
was founded in 1861. The sisters gathered around the table as soon as Vassula had finished her meal and were waiting like little children to listen to what Vassula had to say about Jesus.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006, Kolkata
The final day in Kolkata, we had lunch at the Daughters of St. Anne’s Congregation. Sr. Florence, Superior General, spoke to Vassula during lunch and showed great interest in her mission. The sisters run a boarding school for very poor children. This is the school, St. Mary's, Entally, where Mother Teresa was Headmistress before starting her new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. It's a Bengali medium school for girls.
|Map of India, Kolkata (Calcutta) |
Late in the evening was our flight to New Delhi from where we would catch the connecting flight for Chicago and from there to LA. The transit time between the arrival in New Delhi and our next flight was very short, so we decided to change it. We got another flight that should have arrived into New Delhi one hour earlier from the previous one. This was giving us enough time to land in the domestic airport, drive to the international airport and check-in for the next flight. To our dismay, although we boarded an hour earlier from Kolkata, we landed in New Delhi at the same time as we would have landed with the previous flight due to air traffic! We were 26th in the line to land!
Swiftly we collected our luggage and met Fr. Joe Thomas who would drive us to the international airport. We arrived and after wishing him good-bye, we entered the airport and headed for the American Airlines counters for check-in, where we were told that we were too late and we couldn’t board this flight! It was 11.00 pm and the flight was taking off at 12.55 am – in almost 2 hours! But for security reasons they told us that we needed to be there at least 3 hours earlier!!!
We called immediately Fr. Joe – who had almost arrived at his home – and asked if he could come back and pick us up, after we booked ourselves for next day’s flight. On his way to the airport again (!) Fr. Joe had booked us a room at the nearest hotel to the airport in order to spend this troublesome night. We made it to bed at 2.30 am. Talk about hardship! Who says Vassula has it easy just because she is with Jesus? Not at all! "Write this down in the report", Vassula said, "so that the people may see what this mission includes, what I go through! People think it’s an easy job!" Vassula was wondering what scheduled appointments, arranged to promote the meeting on the 28th, she would miss in LA due to one day delay.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006, still in Kolkata
After breakfast, Fr. Joe came to the hotel along with Antonis and Teresa who had just flown in from Bangalore to deal with their visa and ticket issues before flying to Greece.
All together, we visited the Greek Embassy in New Delhi and met with the newly appointed visa officer. This
casual, hour-long meeting went by pretty fast and Antonis and Teresa’s issue was taken care of. They would be leaving for Greece in 3 days to renew their visas for India.
We shared lunch together with our two Greek friends and Vassula updated them about the visit in Kolkata.
This time to be safe, we arrived at the airport 3 ½ hours before our long flight back to USA.
Thursday, January 26, 2006, LA
We arrived in LA where Claire Mansour and Sharon Jimenez where waiting for us. Sharon Jimenez is an Icon Imaging Media Consultant and she had taken up the promotion of the upcoming Christian Unity Conference and Vassula. After a very long flight, of
altogether 20 hours from India, Vassula was asked if she would agree to have a TV interview by "Adelphia Channel" (KADL TV), Time Warner Cable, which about 10 million people watch in the
area, on the next day, Friday. Sharon told her that, except for the host of the program "Week in Review," Mr. Bob Jimenez (Sharon’s husband), there would be four more people present for debate. Vassula decided to be in the
program and accepted the invitation.
Claire and Antoine Mansour were Vassula’s hosts.
Claire informed Vassula of the situation in LA following the withdrawal of the LA Archdiocese's
invitation to host the Christian Unity Conference in which Vassula would be the central speaker, and
Claire spoke of the new venue, the Alex Theater in Glendale.
Vassula had some time to relax until 4.30 pm, when the producer/director of "OCTelevision" channel, Mr. Wahid Boctor, arrived
at the house to interview Vassula. The OCTelevision (www.octelevision.org) is an Orthodox Christian television channel in LA through which Claire Mansour has been introducing the messages to its viewers with brief and
summarized witnessing in the program "Church Unity."
Mr. Boctor was completely absorbed by what Vassula was sharing about unity and reconciliation in a very direct way. She spoke about apostasy and today’s situation of the world.
A page of the handwriting edition of the TLIG Messages was filmed as well.
Friday, January 27, 2006, LA
After a late breakfast, Vassula had to be in the studio of Adelphia Channel for another TV program at 12 noon. It wouldn’t be a simple interview, but have another 4 people on the panel for debate. Because it is a high ratings program, the 2
people to be interviewed before Vassula included a mayor from a nearby county having a smoking-free project for his county and a young man from Washington regarding state house matters.
| Vassula and Sharon Jimenez on their way to the studio|
We were all sitting in a waiting room with Vassula, watching from a monitor television how the debate was going on with the mayor; if we say ‘he was lynched’ it would be
an understatement. The people debating were not letting him go easy – although it seemed that everyone would want a smoking-free environment. He came out
wit a very red face, not an easy situation for heart patients! Vassula was asked to meet
with the make up artist so, with Claire and Sharon, we remained in the waiting room quite perplexed; we didn’t want Vassula to be treated in such a way and the messages to be
trashed, so we did what we know best: we prayed, thinking that if Jesus allowed Vassula to come to this program, the situation was under His control.
Vassula went into the panel. Mr. Bob Jimenez, the host of the live program, welcomed her and announced the conference the next day at Alex
Theater. The other 4 people on the panel welcomed her as well. And it started – with us holding our breath in the waiting room. Mr. Jimenez asked Vassula about the Christian Unity Conference the next day and her role for unity. Vassula explained the purpose of the meeting, her call from God, the situation of the divided Church and how God wants this unity.
After 20 minutes the program was over. It was astounding: during all her time no debate! There was no one to challenge or demote what Vassula was talking about! Even one of the
panellists, a young lady producer who also worked for this channel, was asking very encouraging questions to Vassula. Praise the Lord! For once more He turned the wise of the world speechless in front of His Authority!
Vassula came out and everyone in the studio was impressed with what they heard: in this so materialistic world a lady with such a mission; and moving in the high realms of spirituality –conversing with God!
We went for lunch and the young lady producer came along, saying she
wished to know more about Vassula and her mission. During lunch many suggestions were brought up
on how to promote TLIG in a more effective way in US.
Going back to the house, we checked if there were any new attacks on the internet and the blogs against tomorrow’s meeting and the new venue: nothing was found
despite a new press release having been uploaded on the internet.
Tomorrow would be a special day, closing the Unity Week with this conference.
Saturday, January 28, 2006, LA
Dr. Antoine Mansour and Claire had left earlier in the morning to be at the Alex Theater in Glendale, as the program was opening from 9.00 am. The Mansour's daughters, Mary and Nathalie, would drive Vassula to the venue later on, at 10.30 am.
|Dr. Antoine Mansour
Vassula arrived in the theater while a short documentary film on Christian Unity was shown, featuring the Ecumenical pilgrimage of TLIG in 2005 in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
The first speaker in the conference was Shawn Klaiber from the Pacific Crossroads in Brentwood. He belongs
to the Protestant Church as an on-staff worship music pastor and music consultant. Rev. Shawn spoke with such zeal about Christian unity, that we thought it
might be possible that he had read the messages. "We should act on unity, not just read and listen about unity!" He repeated this many times during his 15 minute speech.
Donald Jolly-Gabriel was the next speaker with a doctorate in Sacred theology and a
master’s degree on divinity. He holds an award of merit for "Contributing to Christian unity" from the Synod of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church.
Fr. Richard Ryan from the Roman Catholic Church was the next speaker. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and degrees in theology, scholastic philosophy and political science. He participates in TLIG prayer groups and has been reading the messages since 2003.
Georgia Klamson from New York introduced Vassula to the theater audience."I did not choose this work, but was asked to receive the messages and spread them to the world," Vassula said to the audience. "Jesus wants His Church on earth united and He is tired of the talking and wants action now. The churches must unite around one altar, which means that Christian leaders will have to step down from their positions of power and surrender to the Will of God. The early Christians gave up their lives facing the lion’s den while today’s Christian leaders will not surrender the power of their seats for the Will of our Lord." In this decisive tone, Vassula spoke for an hour sharing the key to Christian unity of humility and love, with everyone present.
A healing service followed with Vassula praying with her cross that contains a relic of the True Cross of Jesus, while "Spirit alive" ministries were performing the Taize music. Earlier during the conference, the St. Anne Melkite Church Group led by Nabil Khoury MD sang the Odes, and soloist Christian Stalnecker performed "Mary Did You Know" – accompanied by a beautiful video dedicated to our Lady.
|During the healing service
| St. Anne Melkite Church Group singing the Odes|
There were many friends from TLIG among the audience that had arrived from all over the US and Canada for this conference and all together shared a late lunch immediately after in a traditionally set up Lebanese restaurant with all the friends of old, but also
many new ones.
It was said that the reporter that had written the article in the LA Times beginning of January 2006 regarding the withdrawal of the invitation from the LA Archdiocese’s Cathedral to host this Conference, was discharged from the newspaper.
Sunday, January 29, 2006, LA
Dr. Antoine and Claire Mansour had invited all the TLIG friends that worked for this Conference and all those that had arrived from all over US and Canada to spend the day in their house. About 50 people gathered and it was like a family reunion. Fr. Richard Ryan, speaker of the previous day, celebrated Mass around the pool - even the weather was participating in the joy of this gathering by being sunny and warmer than it should. A beautiful and very tasty buffet was prepared with all the Lebanese delicacies and a whole roast lamb for lunch. A birthday cake was also presented Vassula for her birthday and all sang to wish her "Happy Birthday." Everybody enjoyed Vassula’s company afterwards as she was sharing stories of her personal experience with Jesus. Time just flew away so fast!
Wednesday 1st February was Vassula’s flight back to Washington with Claire Mansour, ending thus one more successful and long mission for the glory of God!
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