WESTMINSTER — A billboard on Route 97 tells countians how they can receive a message from the Virgin Mary -- toll-free.
The answering machine at thenumber advertised says she has appeared in Long Island, N.Y., with amessage for the world.
But the Catholic Church hierarchy says the visions are not authentic.
"Those apparitions have been officially condemned by the Catholic Church as not being authentic," said the Rev. David Pietropaoli,pastor at St. John Catholic Church here. "Some of the messages completely contradict Catholic Church teachings, and the church cannot contradict herself."
Our Lady's Children, a non-profit group of dissident Catholics based in Los Angeles, says Mary has given these messages to Veronica Leuken, a resident of Bayside, N.Y., in prayer vigils on the eve of each feast day since April 7, 1970.
Donations from members pay for the two 800 numbers, which are used by callers from across the country. The billboards are provided free of charge as a service by the owners, said Our Lady's Children spokesman David Martin.
"We are not permitted to solicit donations from the public (at large)," he said. "Anyone who calls the number will receive a free information packet and can get on our mailing list."
The group's mailing list numbers 60,000 in the United States, Martin said.
Among thebeliefs professed by the group are that the fall of communism is a ruse by the former Soviet Union to lull the world into a false sense of peace before communists take over.
The group also says that God will destroy the world's evil with a nuclear world war and a fiery ball of redemption striking the earth. However, constant prayer and purification will prevent the apocalypse, members said.
"We have a situation similar to the past time of Noah," Martin said. "The fiery comet has been spotted by scientists, but they are keeping it very quiet."
Members also reject the teachings of Vatican II, saying the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by the forces of Satan. They say the Pope is being forced to go along with decisions he doesn't agree with and that Satan has a plan to assassinate him.
"Our Lady is telling us the Pope is under the domination of his bishops and he can't even think anymore," Martin said. "He is disobeyed and betrayed from all sides."
The Catholic Church does not accept those messages.
"We do give tremendous respect and honor to the mother of God, but when the revelations that Mary has given are authentic, they never addanything new," Pietropaoli said. "They call people back to the traditions, prayer, fasting and acts of penance.
"These visions are considered a little bit off the wall."