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Friday, April 23, 2004

Mystery of Marshall crucifix is an article of faith

By Jeffrey Hope
Updated: 4:46 a.m. ET April 23, 2004

April 21 - Some say it's a spiritual awakening. Others are calling it a miracle. Ever since an Easter vigil service, things haven't been quite the same in the small Yup'ik village of Marshall. Whatever happened, a statue of the crucified Christ is changing lives.

Marshall, a village of a few hundred year-round residents, sits on a quiet slough of the Yukon River. There are no roads to get to it. The few trucks in town came here by barge. One store serves the entire village, and there are two churches -- a Russian Orthodox church and a Catholic church. That's where things haven't been quite the same since Easter.

"Some people think this is a miracle, which is good," says Angelina Coffee, a Eucharistic minister.

Miracle or not, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church has become as busy as a post office. A crucifix of Jesus has always been respected, but now it's the talk of the village.

Church members say it started during an Easter vigil service. Someone thought they saw the painted blood on the statue turn to real blood. Most missed it, but, after the service, church members crowded around the crucifix. Even longtime members agreed it looked different.(more)

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