By Scott Corrales
UFO Digest Latin America Correspondent
For some three decades, people from all corners of the world have visited the Mexican town of Puente Jula to be freed from alleged demonic possession during collective services presided by two priests. MAS ALLA has spoken to one of the priests and with several direct witnesses.
Over thirty years have gone by since the first mass exorcisms took place in the Puente Jula, a small town in the state of Veracruz. Since then, thousands have come to this community from all points of the Mexican Republic and abroad, seeking to be released from various demons. Whether of their own volition or forced by friends and relatives, they keep coming to San Miguel Arcangel church to solve serious problems ascribed to the presence of Evil. MAS ALLA has had the opportunity of researching what goes on at Puente Jula on site.
What makes the ceremonies of this church different from other Catholic rites are the masses held ever Friday as of three in the afternoon, and which go on for several hours. These masses end with the alleged exorcism or release of several individuals. The rite has not been suspended for any reason, ever, not even in the light of catastrophic situations.
It begins like any Catholic mass, with the particular detail that those who believe themselves to be possessed must attend confession with priests Casto Simon Arcos and Francisco Ugalde, who take the opportunity to split churchgoers into those who are suffering a physical or mental illness and those who are allegedly possessed.
Padre Arcos, born on 22 January 1930, would at first allow all presents to remain through the final phase, only those requiring exorcism can remain in the church ever since Padre Ugalde joined him a few years ago. In this way they avoid the presence of curiosity-seekers that hinder his work and – according to the priests – magnify the Evil One’s presence. Exorcisms are now performed after mass and only those chosen by Padre Ugalde are present. These are the ones classified during confession, or those who have shown alleged signs of possession during the service. The possessed are separated from everyone else by the assistants to the Puente Jura priests, waiting their turn to be released. Some are not cured at first and return on several occasions to successfully complete the process.
A Dramatic Ritual
When only the possessed remain within the church, an individualized exorcism ritual begins. Dramatic scenes occur at a prodigious rate. Screams, weeping and insults are audible from the buildings exterior for hours, as there is no time limit. “They vomit, they faint, they have to be tied to the pews because they display the strength of ten people. Many want to leave the church or attack the priest. That’s why we tie them down with bandages,” says Clara Saldaña Yepes, one of the priests’ assistants. Meanwhile, relatives pray for their loved ones healing in another room, or outside the church.
Carlos Bravo Rodríguez has helped Arcos and Ugalde for over 15 years. He says that Padre Simón has conducted exorcisms in San Miguel Arcángel church for over thirty years, and that given his advanced age, he asked the Bishop of Veracruz for a replacement. Since then, Francisco Ugalde has been the official parish priest, with the other religious as his assistant.
“God has chosen to make use of this place to perform miracles,” Bravo believes. “Many people find their souls and bodies healed. Many persons possessed of the Devil have come here and been released and made whole. I have witnessed many miracles, blessings, signs and wonders here.”
He likewise compares what happens in Puente Jula with phenomena at such renowned places as Lourdes and Fatima. “The Apostle Paul says that faith grows from the word, and that’s what happens during the healing masses. To be released,” he adds, “the afflicted must put much trust in God, considerable faith and devotion, desiring a life change. If the person is walled off from faith, release becomes difficult.” Nonetheless, he is cautious: “One must be prudent before performing an exorcism on someone. Prayers of intercession are one thing, and exorcism another. For that reason Padre Ugalde devotes considerable study to the case. The priests here are very wary, as the Church as shown us, because they are under the command of the Bishop and the Pope.”
(Translation (c) 2011, Scott Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to La Otra Realidad and Revista Más Allá)