Perth priest claims miracle
Fr Finbarr Walsh of the Perth parish of Rockingham says that a 50-year-old father of three is displaying stigmata on his hands and feet.
The Sunday Times reports that the man's identity is being kept secret. Fr Walsh told the paper that he had witnessed the phenomena, which lasted 24 hours and included visions of and messages from the Virgin Mary.
He said he had never seen such a thing in his 50 years as a priest, with the wounds appearing to be covered in blood. He believed the stigmata was real, saying he had no reason to think the man was a fraud.
"I haven't come across anything like this before," Father Walsh said.
"I have seen the wounds. They are not fake. He is getting the wounds of Jesus on his hands and feet.
"You see them bleeding. When he has them, he is in great pain. But they disappear within 24 hours. It has to be a miracle."
Father Walsh said the man had received hundreds of messages from the Virgin Mary and that she appears to him on the eighth day of every month and sometimes more often.
"I have been there when he says he has seen Our Lady," Father Walsh said. "He is the only one who sees her. The only evidence is his word," Fr Walsh said.
"I don't think he (is lying). He is a holy person."
Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey refused to speak about the incident. He said through a spokesman that he was aware of what was happening in Rockingham.
There have been 500 reported stigmatics who have displayed wounds similar to those inflicted upon Jesus.
The first case was that of Archbishop Stephen Langton, of England, recorded in 1222. St Francis of Assisi suffered wounds in La Verna, Italy, in 1224.
Is this a bleeding miracle? (Sunday Times 19/3/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Rockingham Parish (Archdiocese of Perth)
Tests on crying Madonna fail to show hoax (CathNews 13/9/02)
20 Mar 2006