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What's in a picture? Sometimes a lot. It may be worth a thousand words. In some cases, people see a thousand (or at least let's say "many") images.

At any rate, and however spectacular, or not spectacular, however supernatural or meaningfully mundane, the accent goes on the word "meaning": How very often it is that reflections, refractions, digital smears, and light "bleeds" (as they once were known to photographers) seem to occur at particularly poignant moments.

Or places.

The one at the top left was shot years ago at Queen of the World Church in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, while a healing priest, Father Ralph A. DiOrio, of Massachusetts, was ministering. It is curious how natural light often seems to represent, mimic, or manifest supernatural circumstances (and perhaps radiation).

The photo beneath that -- of what looks like an angel -- was taken at a cemetery during a funeral procession in Hamilton, Pennsylvania. Meaningful, to be sure!

Below to the right are photos of the sun breaking through clouds at a special spot back in the St. Mary's area where a Cross was once erected. They were sent to us by William Bauer, a local resident who explains that the spot for the Cross is actually at Mount Zion, about 13 miles south of St. Mary's.

"I will tell you the story behind them," he wrote us last summer. "There is a man in DuBois named William McMahon. Everyone calls him 'Bill Irish.' He was a mail carrier and would always stop at this one area and have his lunch. In the summer of 1990 when he was having lunch, things began to happen.

"Irish is a devout Catholic. He went to his parish church in DuBois and talked to a priest who was a good friend. We are in the Erie Diocese, so the priest notified Erie. They sent a priest to see Irish and they went to Mount Zion where these things were taking place. After they prayed, the priest said she -- the Blessed Mother -- wanted a Cross put here. They contacted the owners of the property and got permission to do it.

"They went back to Mount Zion to select a place to put it. They noticed all the trees in the area were moving except two. They decided this was where the Cross should go.

"On August 1, 1990, the Cross was put up at noon. This area is noted for its many elk. The county is called Elk County. When the Cross was put up the elk bugled for two hours. Elk only bugle during mating season, and mating season was over.

"In the summer of 1991 Mass was celebrated on the hill looking down on the Cross. The Mass was celebrated there because it was hard to get down the hill.

"Six priests were there. The priest [sent by the bishop] was the celebrant.

"I found out a few months ago from a friend who was there that when it came time for Communion that a priest friend of his came over to him and told him to look in the ciborium. When he did, he told me they did not have enough Hosts. They were only expecting fifty people. About 250 came. Father turned to distribute the Hosts he had. The priest stopped and went back to my friend and again showed him the ciborium. The Hosts in the ciborium had multiplied!" McMahon puts the figure at forty expected -- and seven hundred who showed up.

Later, however, after another Mass was scheduled, the owners of the hilly property ordered the Cross removed, along with stone steps that had been built. The phenomena that first precipitated erection of the Cross included a voice that said "ecumenism" and McMahon also started to experience the miracle of the sun. A bush seemed to move strangely, and that's where the Cross was placed halfway down the hill. "You always felt God's peace there," said McMahon. There had been reports, after the Cross was placed there, of sun miracles and visions of the Crucifixion. Bauer himself was in one photo with a lot of reflections (top left). For us to ponder.


"I forgot to mention," concludes Bauer, "that when the Cross was moved [to a spot nearby], shortly after it was struck by lightning." Miracles are still said to occur.

[The Cross is located on Mount Zion Road about 13 miles south St. Mary's]

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