Behind the Scenes


Javier Paredes is a history professor at the University of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain). In addition he is a tireless researcher on the life of Sor Patrocinio (“the Stigmatic Nun”). Among the many topics he has researched from a historic rather than a theological point of view, is the role of Marian apparitions in the contemporary age.

After all of this, all of a sudden we have found his name on the posters for the movie “Garabandal, only God knows,” interpreting one of its protagonists, Monsignor Lucio Alfaro. We have many questions to ask him about this.

Javier, you have a lot to tell us, but please start by explaining to us the role of Marian apparitions in our convulsed contemporary history.
The Contemporary Era, that is, the 19th and 20th centuries, is the historic moment of the Virgin Mary. Of all the Church approved Marian apparitions, 80% occurred during these two centuries. This has to have a historical significance because Jesus Christ is the Master of history. Just when society had turned its back on God in a radical way and does not wish to hear anything said about the transcendental, Our Mother intervenes repeatedly so that we turn back and return to see God.

But isn’t mysticism something of the past that has already been overcome by the triumph of reason?
For me, mysticism is something that is very much part of the future, because shortly, through God’s mercy, we will enter into an ecstasy and remain thus for eternity. Consequently, it behooves us to begin training now, lest when the time comes we play the role of the foolish virgins.

Why did you accept to act in this movie about Garabandal?
Because I am such a brilliant film star that I cannot live unless I’m involved in at least one movie per semester! Seriously, however, I had never done any of this in my entire life, but thanks to the Virgin Mary I was capable of doing a handstand to bridge and to do so singlehandedly. And obviously, at my age it is easier to make a film than to do gymnastics.

What was your impression when you reached the place where the movie was being filmed and you found yourself under the spotlights and under the orders of Brian Jackson?
I found that there was a very supernatural atmosphere, and if you did not pray you would be out of tune. The filming was secondary.

What reflections went through your mind while playing the role of Monsignor Ortega? What were you thinking about?
The only thing I kept thinking about was to change the script that had been given to me, and taking advantage of the fact that they had dressed me as a bishop, to approve the apparitions. But the director was not that accommodating and did not let me. Patience and keep on shuffling…

What importance do you think this movie may ultimately have as to the history of the apparitions at San Sebastián de Garabandal?
Many people who know that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God will also come to the realization that she is also Our Mother. And that, as many young people of today say, that is “pretty heavy.”