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Church Wall Image Fails to Appear on Overcast Morning

United Press International

With the sun obscured by heavy clouds, a mysterious light on a church wall that many believed was a divinely inspired image of the Virgin Mary did not appear Monday, seeming to confirm the theory that the image came from sunlight shining through a stained-glass window.

“I think it would confirm it is a physical phenomenon of refraction of light through stained glass. That seems to give us a clear picture of what was happening,” Bishop Francis Quinn of the Sacramento Diocese said.

Rain-sodden skies didn’t discourage throngs of the faithful from waiting hours in line outside St. Dominic’s Catholic Church for a chance to glimpse the multicolored image, which has appeared daily since Thanksgiving above a statue of Jesus.

But after the image failed to appear at its usual time in the morning, the worshipers trooped out, some in dismay.

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Quinn said he had talked with James Phelps, a physics professor and optics expert asked by a newspaper to examine the light last week. Phelps concluded the image was caused by sun coming through a stained-glass window and bouncing off a light fixture onto the wall.


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