What Really Happened to Paul? – Paul Koleske’s Apparition Story
To Whom It May Concern: This is an account of the events that took place on December 12th, 1993 in Conyers, GA. My name is Paul Koleske. I am 36 years old as I write this… For about ten years I was a "lukewarm" and/or "fallen-away" Catholic. Not being enthused about the Catholic faith, I really didn't practice it well and often times, not at all. I looked to other faiths/churches over this period of time and was attracted by what they had to offer. In the fall of 1990, about 10 days before he passed away, my father told me that the Catholic Religion was the one complete faith that Jesus came on earth to set up and he asked me to promise to give it another try. That thought stuck in my mind long after dad died on October 13th, 1990. In early 1991 I met a man who had a great appreciation and enthusiasm for the Catholic faith. He had been to Medjugorje and had a strong conversion experience. During our business dealings together he tried his best to "convert" me back into the faith saying, "Paul you've got a bad attitude, get back into the Catholic church where you belong", adding; "I'll pray for you." At this point, something weird started to stir within me and I felt as if my father was talking to me, urging me to come back into the church. I starting attending Mass, at my boyhood parish on a regular basis and I was asked to be a cantor. I accepted. I was nominated for Parish Council and was elected serving as the Chairman the third and last year of my term, the same position my father held several years earlier. My pastor asked if I would be willing to charter an evangelization committee with a few other people in our parish. I accepted. One night in October 1993 after an evangelization meeting at our church, one of our members told me about some "alleged happenings" in Conyers, Georgia. I immediately believed him saying that I believed in miracles. He invited me on a pilgrimage and I said I was interested in going, saying December would work for me. Over the next two months I began to talk with this fellow parish member and his daughter frequently about Conyers in anticipation of our December 12 & 13th stay there. On Saturday December 11th, I boarded a bus in Racine, Wisconsin bound for Conyers. I felt a bit out of place praying the Rosary on the bus, in fact I didn't know how. It was strange to be driving through Chicago looking at the skyscrapers praying the Rosary, yet at the same time it was kind of nice! After a long bus ride, we arrived in Conyers on Sunday Morning December 12th. We set up our chairs for the next day and waited in line, by the alleged "apparition house" that resembled a log cabin, so we could enter and look around. My friend Colleen, one of the organizers of the trip, told me I should write a petition and place it in a basket. Here is what I wrote: "God, I believe in you, Jesus, Mary & Joseph but I'm a bit confused. I don't know if the Catholic faith is true or if it is where I should be. Please give me a sign, change the rosary I brought with me (given to be by my father before he died) from silver to gold so I know that I should be a Catholic. If I receive this sign from you I'll tell hundreds and thousands of people of this miracle and strengthen their belief in the Catholic faith." I put the petition in the basket, I knelt and prayed a couple Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Be(s), then left the apparition house. I walked along a path for about 15 minutes to a place on the grounds known as "holy hill". There were hundreds of people milling about looking at various statues, praying the stations of the cross or talking quietly showing pictures with apparitions in them. After winding through the last bunch of trees the area opened up and just past a beautiful crucifix I looked up into the sky and noticed the strangest cloud formations I had ever seen forming what looked like 3 huge crosses in the sky. A few minutes later I noticed a large rectangular patch up in the sky with all the colors of the rainbow! I thought this was very odd. I was walking around looking up in the sky when I noticed the sun spinning. It appeared to have its entire surface covered except for the edges and like electrical current it spun right then left very quickly back and forth over and over again. At one point the sun split and opened as if someone had raised a lid to open its top. I had sunglasses on so my eyes were well protected, yet I still covered my right eye and created a telescope with my left hand over my left eye. Next the sun's bottom half began spewing out beautiful vibrant colors, first purple, green, red, yellow very quickly, then I saw our Blessed Mother's head appear from the shoulders up above the sun, it happened so fast I asked Mary if she would please let me see it again and the exact same apparition appeared for the second time. Rather excited, I walked over to where a fellow parishioner was sitting, under a pine tree, praying the Rosary and told him what had just happened, he merely said, that sort of thing has been known to happen here. I went back to the same place and looked through my "telescope" and the colors began flowing out of the sun again two separate times The Blessed Mother appeared with her arms outstretched in a flowing gown or mantle both of these apparitions were a dark blue shady, almost black color, she traveled right in front of the sun for almost two seconds each time. Shortly after, I faced a different direction, away from the sun. I looked up into the sky and witnessed an apparition of Mary holding baby Jesus in her left arm. This apparition was bronze, it looked like a statue in a church and was about 35 feet tall. It stayed suspended in the air for a few seconds, then disappeared in a flash only to reveal another apparition with Mary standing alone up in the sky to my left and a large bronze grown Jesus was to her left elevated higher than her. This apparition lasted a few seconds and in a flash disappeared. In the next apparition I saw Mary and Jesus as before this time with what looked like St. Joseph all in bronze about 35 feet tall with Jesus elevated between Mary & Joseph. I was totally amazed. I told no one for several minutes, I just kept looking up into the sky. Finally, I looked back into the direction of the sun and two separate times I saw a long-stemmed rose about 70 feet long appear in the sky in front of the sun. About 30 minutes later I was standing around the crucifix on holy hill. A woman had fallen into my back and lay motionless on the ground, I panicked and said we need to help her but everyone joined hands around her and prayed. People said that the Holy Spirit was at work. A few minutes later she got up looking very much at peace, brushed off the dirt, and hugged her family and friends. I walked closer to the crucifix, it was 3:00 p.m.. and everyone started praying a chaplet. I just looked and listened as I didn't know what that was when suddenly I was overcome with a feeling of unexplainable peace and happiness and I began to sob like a baby, the entire front of my coat was wet , I just couldn't stop crying! Finally, my weeping ceased and it was the best cry I ever had, I was so refreshed, and obviously touched by the Holy Spirit I was in awe…..[end] ….. and this became the beginning of my ministry.
P.S. I tell this story, and share the song – I SAW MARY – only in Catholic churches. For any Catholic that reads this account and is alarmed and hesitant to have me come to your church, you need to talk to me and realize that I'm not a fanatic that talks about anything that would disrupt the parish. Besides I have much more than this story and song to share with your congregation. In my concert or reflection at your church, I'd say that the church Pastor and Archdiocese Archbishop/Diocese Bishop and of course Rome did not "approve" or verify the happenings at Conyers, yet, I do remind all that the Catholic church does allow private personal revelations to be spoken of in an appropriate manner (if it didn't, we wouldn't have some of our treasured devotions like the Chaplet of Divine Mercy!) In addition, the fact remains that the church has given its' blessing to many apparition sites around the world, so, would it be so impossible if Mary continues to appear in other lesser known areas? If you are Catholic and uncomfortable with this story, I'm sorry you feel that way. I DO NOT sensationalize this experience but rather say that the purpose of it was to understand that Mary wants us to honor and acknowledge her son Jesus as our Lord and Savior, participate fully in the sacraments, and follow His teachings in our everyday lives. Prejudging what I do in my ministry based on this story would cause your parish to miss a valuable spiritual event. Special events like these are greatly needed in the Catholic faith at this time! If you have any questions or concerns call me at (262) 939-7456. God bless you!