Main | Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NEW JERSEY: Christians Battle Over Blessed Virgin Mary Tree Hole

As supplicants arrive daily to reverently pile flowers, balloons, and candles around New Jersey's now-famous Blessed Virgin Mary Tree Hole, naysayers have appeared to denounce the adulation as "witchcraft." Hilarity ensues.
Dante Domenech held his leather-bound Bible in front of him on Sunday morning and shouted at the throng of people kneeling, making the sign of the cross and weeping at the base of a Ginkgo biloba tree with a strange knot that they believe resembles the Virgin Mary. “This is witchcraft; you are worshiping devils!” bellowed Mr. Domenech, 50, of North Bergen, N.J. That remark prompted Maria Cole, one of dozens of people from West New York and nearby who had come to pray and lay flowers and votive candles by the tree, to charge at Mr. Domenech. “We don’t want Satan!” Ms. Cole, 57, shouted in Spanish as a 90-year-old woman with a long-stemmed white rose walked up and hit Mr. Domenech on the head and shoulders with the flower until three police officers asked him to move along. (The flower-wielder gave her age, but not her name.) At the site of what some believe is a miracle, prayers of the faithful and shouts of the skeptical have grown louder as word of the tree’s distinctive knot has spread since its discovery this month. Mayor Felix Roque said the town was spending $1,000 a day for police officers to prevent vandalism of the tree, defuse confrontations and keep traffic moving on the busy strip of Bergenline Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets.
Devotees have gathered 5000 petition signatures against a city plan to transplant the tree to a nearby park.UPDATE: One woman brought her stuffed cow to show it to the tree. (Or vice-versa.) She writes:
They say the Blessed Mother appeaser before a tragedy to give us strength to get threw it. I'm not sure if this is meant for the tragedy in Colorado but maybe it is. I'm Catholic and I believe. I can see the image of our Blessed Mother in the tree I hope you can to, and I hope this video can give someone comfort in knowing the Blessed Mother is here for us and with us always.

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