The “Miracle of Ocotlán" is a miracle that many who are no Mexicans have barely heard of. Even in Mexico today there are people who have not heard of the miracle.
This miracle occurred on 3rd October 1847 when a physical perfect image of Jesus Christ crucified appeared in the clouds, the image remained on sight for over 30 minutes.
This miracle took place just before the start of a Sunday Mass at the cemetery of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception – presided over by the parochial vicar, Father Julián Navarro; when two fair clouds joined together in the northwest sky, where there appeared the image of Christ. The over two thousand (2000) people present at the Mass and the people who lived in the nearby towns were gripped with intense fear and marvel as they too shared in the sight of the miracle. Those who saw this as deeply moved, made acts of contrition, and cried out begging, “Lord, have mercy!" This apparition of Christ was called “the Lord of Mercy" and in his honor, in September 1875, a new parish church was blessed, consecrated and dedicated to him.
Fifty years after the Miracle, 1897, over 30 people came forward to give a written report of their witness of the miracle, by the order of the then-Archbishop of Guadalajara, Pedro Loza y Pardavé.
Cardinal José de Jesús Ortizy Rodríguez, the Archbishop of Guadalajara at that time in 1911 approved the phenomenon as the “Miracle of Ocotlán" and signed a document validating the apparition of Jesus Christ at Ocotlán, and the devotion and veneration given by the people of that area to the venerated statue of our Lord of Mercy located in the shrine of the same name.
“We must acknowledge as an historical fact, perfectly proven, the apparition of the blessed image of Jesus Christ Crucified…and that it could not have been the work of an hallucination or fraud, since it happened in broad daylight, in the sight of more than 2,000 people," the Cardinal Rodríguez said.
Cardinal Rodríguez also made it a tradition in Mexico that the October 3rd of the “Miracle of Ocotlán" will be an anniversary to always remember. And it stood; every October 3rd faithful must “gather together in whatever manner possible, after purifying their consciences with the holy sacraments of Penance and
Holy Communion and solemnly swear in the presence of God, for themselves and their descendants, that year after year they will celebrate the October 3 anniversary."
After its approval and to comply with the provisions of the Archbishop of Guadalajara, in 1912 they began public festivities in honor of the Lord of Mercy, recalling the Miracle of 1847. The celebrations currently last 13 days, from Sept. 20 to Oct. 3.
Later, in 1997, Saint John Paul II sent his Apostolic Blessing to the people of Ocotlán on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the miracle.