Jesus in the sky miracle recalled: 168 years ago, before a quake, Mexicans saw image of crucified Christ in the clouds

A 1912 painting of The Lord of Mercy apparition in Ocotlán, Mexico, on Oct. 3, 1847.(Facebook/El Señor de la Misericordia de Ocotlán)

From out of the blue, in a sort of "throwback Thursday" feature, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) website came up with an article on the "Miracle of Ocotlán," a phenomenon that took place on a Sunday, Oct. 3, 1847, when more than 2,000 people in Ocotlán, Mexico reportedly saw a clear image of Jesus Christ crucified that appeared in the sky for more than 30 minutes.

CNA says it's a verified major miracle that many people probably never heard of.

The day after the image of Jesus Christ appeared in the sky, an earthquake rocked the Mexican state of Jalisco, killing 40 people and leaving Ocotlán in ruins, according to CNA.

According to the witnesses at that time, two white clouds joined together in the northwest sky where there appeared the image of Christ.

The phenomenon occurred before the start of Mass at the cemetery of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Those present during the Mass and in nearby towns were deeply moved at the sight. They made acts of contrition and cried out begging, "Lord, have mercy!"

The apparition of Christ was called "the Lord of Mercy" and in his honour, in September 1875, a new parish church was blessed, consecrated and dedicated to Him.

On Sept. 29, 1911, 64 years after the miracle in the sky took place, the Archbishop of Guadalajara at that time, Cardinal José de Jesús Ortiz y Rodríguez, signed a document validating the apparition of Jesus Christ at Ocotlán.

"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," Rodríguez said.

The cardinal also declared Oct. 3 as anniversary of the Lord of Mercy.

Mexicans have been celebrating the occasion every since. The celebration currently lasts 13 days, from Sept. 20 to Oct. 3.

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.