A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORKERS OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL 1965 – 2002
The Evolution of Promotional Material
When he began his promotion in 1965, Joey Lomangino began with a simple photo scrapbook with Braille captions. Eventually the scrapbook was replaced by a slide series, the slides were replaced by a 16mm film show, the film was replaced by a video and now that video is available to all the world, gratis here at Garabandal.us.
From the very beginning, the leaflets (available on this site) were developed to be distributed at Garabandal conferences. Over the next thirty years, countless millions of copies of a dozen leaflets were distributed including several thousand in foreign languages. This great work has always been done by Bill Henry and his men and a very old, very small printing press.
From the mimeographed sheets of information distributed at local conferences (usually three hours in length) there developed a small magazine called Needles. The first official issue was Winter, 1972. Most of the original articles were contributed by priests.
Father Joseph A. Pelletier, A.A. traveled many times to Garabandal with his close friend, Joey Lomangino, and wrote part of his classic book, Our Lady Comes to Garabandal at Joey’s home in Lindenhurst, NY in 1970. Another of Father’s books on the subject, God Speaks at Garabandal, was translated into Chinese in 1972 by Victorin Wu of Taiwan while a student at Fordham University in New York (publication by Paul Cardinal Yu Pin, Fu Jen University Press). Fr. Pelletier went on to write several books, leaflets and articles for Garabandal Magazine until 1981. Garabandal was close to his heart until his death in 1986.
Over the last four decades, other priest-experts on Garabandal contributed powerful and insightful articles, many of which are preserved on this site. The most prominent were Fr. Francois Turner, O.P. and Father Alfred Combe of France and Fr. Francis Benac, a Spanish Jesuit working in India. These priests were the backbone of the Garabandal Magazine. Their articles were timeless, theologically correct, absolutely accurate and without speculation. With their passing the “true” experts on Garabandal were gone. This website is a tribute to their great work on Our Lady’s behalf.
Throughout its history, several lay people have been invaluable to content of the magazine. Among them; William Kuhn, who was Fr. Pelletier’s editor, Ed Kelly, a school teacher from California who married a girl from the Cantabrian area of Spain and spent many days in the village, Connie Hoebich, the silent editor of the first magazine, Charlie Mailloux, who traveled overseas with Joey and reported on his conferences around the world for the magazine and Marie Fitzpatrick, who took the publication from newsletter to magazine and obtained outstanding interviews from Garabandal eyewitnesses in the late 1980’s.
The continued publication of this magazine for over thirty years, facing the challenge of always freshly presenting the still incomplete events of Garabandal from 1961-1965, without resorting to wild speculation is a testament to these men and women who gave so freely of their time, talent and energy to serve Our Lady and her message.
By 1994, the New York Center video, The Message of Garabandal, was at long last finished. In 1995, the video was shown on EWTN and Joey Lomangino was invited onMother Angelica Live (his first of four appearances). An estimated audience of 60 million people learned of Our Lady’s Message as these two dynamic personalities shared a humorous, spiritual conversation. By 2002, the Message of Garabandal video had been translated into 27 languages including a special edition for the hearing impaired.
After his first trip to Garabandal in 1964, Joey returned many times with his friend Mario Corvias and others. It was a difficult journey. No one knew where Garabandal was! An increasing number of friends and strangers joined this group. Joey always stayed at Conchita’s mother’s house and the other visitors were put up in the homes of villagers. There were no inns or hotels in Garabandal for a long time.
Often during his trips to Garabandal, Joey was given the opportunity to buy a home, property or invest in a business in the village. Under spiritual advice, he declined as he was told his work with Garabandal might be misunderstood if he had financial interest in the village. To this day he does not own property in Garabandal. When Bishop Del Val summoned Joey and his wife to Santander at the beginning of the second investigation, the first question he was asked by the Bishop was, “What do you own in the village of Garabandal.” His reply was, “Bishop, not a stone.”
These short trips developed into pilgrimages often visiting other Marian shrines. The pilgrimage became an annual event for the Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Fr. Pelletier and Father Turner were frequent guests and spiritual advisors on the trips and professional travel agencies accommodated the transportation and lodging arrangements. On the 1977 Pilgrimage Joey met Marilynn Luther, his future wife. 1978 marked the World Congress on Garabandal. From 1979 to 1987, Joey’s young family kept him at home but 1987 saw the return of the pilgrimage resurrected as a week long retreat to Garabandal. As interest in Garabandal made access to the Village easier and greater promotion made the village a more popular destination several other pilgrimage groups sprung up. Indeed it was now quite easy for a foreigner to find Garabandal. This coupled with Joey’s inability to join the group due to health concerns lead to the last New York Center Holy Week Retreat in 2001. Today in Garabandal buses and rental cars arrive daily and hotels, inns and restaurants are going up. The Village is undergoing a transformation from a humble hamlet to a widely known destination point.
The Work at the Center
As the work of the apostolate grew the need for workers expanded. Originally, a group of men volunteered to drive Joey to Garabandal conferences and run the slide projector. This became his core presentation which always focused on Padre Pio and Garabandal.
The organization grew staffed mainly by the local residents of Long Island, New York. At one point there were over 400 active workers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The organization hosted many popular rosary rallies, family picnics, holy hours, processions, and all night vigils.
Everyone was happy to be working on such a vital and exciting project – and they all looked forward to the Great Miracle. There were many witnessed conversions and cures from the medal kissed by Our Lady at Garabandal and given to Joey by Conchita in Garabandal in 1964. Hundreds of letters arrived in bushel baskets every week. Joey opened his own house in Lindenhurst for people to come help and pray. It was eventually referred to as “Tuesday night at Joey’s”. In 1975, in obedience to his local bishop, Joey stopped speaking publicly in his own diocese. This marked the beginning of the “international apostolate” which took the Message of Our Lady to 40 states and around the world three times. One of the earliest international trips was to Ireland. It would be the first of nine consecutive trips to that country.
Many successful trips followed to England, Scotland, India, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada. Joey attended and was honored to speak at two International Congresses on Garabandal in Australia in the late 1980s.
In Kerala, a national center was established for all of India and the Garabandal video, “The Message of Garabandal” along with literature and holy cards are available in English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi.
This period saw the introduction of the computer to the Center as order and subscription information was handled electronically for the first time. The overseas trips were tremendously successful and stirred up much demand for materials upon Joey’s return. Probably over 1 million What is Garabandal leaflets were distributed. Rosary and scapular makers provided millions of gratis sacramentals to be sent to promoters especially priests, nuns and lay people in third world countries. Holy cards with the essential message of Garabandal were developed and translated into 27 languages to go along with the videos circulating on six continents.
Following a serious illness in 1994, Joey began to scale back his work at the Center. Daily operations are run by Center Coordinator and long time WorkerRachael and her husband Silvio. Joey held magazine meetings and responded to letters from his home.
In November 1999, the public life of Joey Lomangino ended when he was struck with a sudden and severe heart attack at his home. Without Joey’s attention and guidance the Center slowed down. The death of friend and advisorRhoda Van der Clute in February 2001 was a tremendous personal loss to Joey and his family and also to the magazine staff of which she was operations manager and to the organization as a whole which was deprived of her many great gifts and invaluable experience.
The magazine, while colorful and attractive, lacked writers. To keep it focused Garabandal reprints of popular articles became a staple. However, it was a Garabandal magazine, and the scholars of Garabandal were gone. Joey never tolerated speculation or hearsay. He did not think it was the place of the Garabandal staff to pronounce miracles or cures and this limited magazine content.
The events of September 11, 2001 began a new era in the New York Center. In response to the tragic and improbable attacks, several people called in, overwhelming our phone lines, and requesting to know if this was indeed the Warning. Although the attacks were clearly not the Warning, it made several of the Workers reconsider how to handle the Warning when it did come and how to continue to promote efficiently in these times. The new technology of the internet allowed world wide communication at the speed of light. This new medium could be better used to spread the message and to inform the world when the prophesized events of Garabandal begin to happen. The New York Center had already taken its first steps into cyberspace. This is the second phase of that project.
There were the Message of Garabandal videos in 27 languages in storage, leaflets in foreign languages and foreign language Message holy cards. There was a virtual treasury of articles, interviews, testimonies seen only by a relatively small number of magazine subscribers. Only a few promoters remained active and they like Joey were slowing down with age and illness. With subscriptions going down and costs going up and a general lack of interest in the Garabandal magazine and the Holy Week Retreat the decision was made to close those aspects of the Center down.
The idea of a major media website was presented to Joey. After being informed of the vast potential of the internet, the ability to reach a new generation that had not heard the Message in the old mediums, and the ability to provide the wealth of the great minds of Garabandal captured on the pages of the magazine to the world for free he jumped at the idea. This website is an answer to prayer and after much time spent in research and development finally a reality.
What began as a simple Braille photo album has become the finest multimedia website we could build leveraging forty years of insight into the events of Garabandal. With the Blessing of Divine Providence and through the intercession of Our Lady the promotion of the Message continues.