This is the big local story around Birmingham this week....
Internationally known visionary Marija Lunetti announced that the Virgin Mary has appeared to her, offered a blessing and promised to return at 10 p.m. Thursday in a field in Shelby County.
Lunetti has been staying in Shelby County at the home of Terry Colafrancesco, founder of Caritas of Birmingham, which promotes the visions that began in 1981 in Medjugorje in the former Yugoslavia.
The visions have since drawn millions of pilgrims to Lunetti's home village of Medjugorje. Lunetti says the Virgin Mary has appeared to her every day since 1981, sometimes offering messages.
About 2,000 pilgrims have converged on Shelby County this week, parking alongside Shelby County 43 near the Caritas headquarters, about seven miles off U.S. 280.
10p.m. huh? How does one go about booking the Virgin Mary for an appearance? And why 10p.m.? She must have an apparition booked in Sheboygan at like 8, a haunting in Glasgow at 6, and a grilled-cheese sandwich impression in Bakersfield at 4.
And why a cow pasture in Shelby county, 7 miles off 280? As the mother of Christ, Mary should know how difficult it is to drive on 280? I mean once we build a monorail out there, it'll be more convenient. Moreover, it's July in the deep South. There are mosquitos the size of small bats down here. I wonder how much in donations Marija rakes in as she travels around the country pretending to see Mary.
Seriously though, there is actually some historical precedence to the grilled cheese apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Recently a fresco by Sergio Bonometti was discovered from the 12th century, believed to have been lost for hundreds of years, and which I've featured below. It's the Virgin Mary sharing a grilled cheese sandwich with the Baby Jesus.