Jesus's Secretary Visits Wellington
By Alastair Thompson
August 27th, 2002 (Wellington): The customs officer hails me from across the now empty Wellington airport arrivals hall, “Mr Thompson?”
“Yes, that’s me,” I reply.
“I have three people from Bolivia who say they are here with you, I was hoping you might answer a few questions.” He continued, “so what are they doing here?”
“It’s a religious thing,” I reply, “the woman is a mystic.”
“What’s a mystic?”
“She talks to Jesus,” I reply.
This doesn’t help, and he looks at me as if I am slightly insane. I just smile, it’s not every day I get to answer a question in this way.
The customs officer returns to his post and a few moments later my three guests emerge, Katya Rivas ( also known as - by Jesus Christ- Catalina), Father Renzo Sessolo her spirtual director and neuro-psychologist Dr Riccardo Castanon.
Image: Father Renzo Sessolo
Katya is probably the most controversial columnist on, Scoop.co.nz. Periodically one of our readers – who are mainly politically attuned cynical types – write in and query why we publish daily extracts of, occasionally apocalyptic, theology by Bolivian visionary.
My response is to say that Scoop has pitched an unusually big editorial tent, and it stands to reason that we would allow Jesus to contribute, especially if he asks to do so, as he has in this case.
And so back in the Wellington arrivals hall I am more than delighted to be able to welcome Katya to New Zealand. If truth be told I am rather stunned in fact.
Image: Dr Ricardo Castanon
A couple of weeks earlier Katya wrote by email from Mexico – where she now lives – to ask if I would be interested in meeting up with her in Sydney where she is visiting to launch a new video made by journalist Mike Willessee.
I reply that I will try to do so, and ask that perhaps she might consider visiting Wellington as I am certain that many people here will be keen to meet her. Much to my surprise she replies “si”, and requests that I organise two meetings for her to tell her remarkable story to Wellingtonians. “Jesus doesn't say me nothing about our meeting,” she says, “but I think that all is doing by Him.”
And so now the adventure is about to begin.
Katya kisses me gently on the cheek to say hello, and then moves off to a vending machine to get some diet coke which she uses to control her sugar levels. It appears that being a mystic is far from a bed of roses - since meeting the Lord she has experienced late onset diabetes and is now in almost constant pain.
As she moves away Dr Castanon introduces himself with a big smile. Later while on our way into town he asks me if I could smell flowers when Katya kissed me. I reply affirmatively, “She always smells like that,” he says, “it’s a miracle, she doesn’t use cologne. Mike Willessee’s whole house now smells like that.”
The idea of a person with a direct line to the almighty is somewhat controversial even among the mystically minded of the Catholic faith. Katya is doubly controversial as she also experiences the Stigmata, the wounds of Christ, an affliction suffered by St Francis of Assisi and by the recently canonised Italian monk and visionary Padre Pio.
Image: Katya Rivas experiencing the Stigmata
Footage from Signs of God Documentary
Rivas’s experience of stigmata - nail holes in her hands and feet, and thorn cuts on the forehead - was the subject of a Fox News TV documentary made by Willessee in 1999 and broadcast in New Zealand twice on TV2.
Willessee, initially a skeptic, visited Rivas in her home city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, and filmed the appearance and disappearance of the wounds on the feast of Corpus Christi.
As a result of his experiences Willessee converted to the Catholic faith and is now a devoted servant of the “Crusade of Love and Mercy” that Jesus has asked Rivas and her companions to undertake on his behalf.
So far they have visited around 29 countries where they have set up “little houses of prayer”. These groups are requested to pray regularly as a sign of reparation for the sin of the world. For his part Jesus has promised – on Willessee’s Fox News documentary - to return and give the world a “big hug”.
Shortly after her arrival in Wellington Rivas received a message for the people of New Zealand from Jesus. “We are already in a new country ready to receive my mercy through love. Trust, it is important that you speak to the people and save souls that are precious to me. Happy are those who are docile to my voice and invitations.”
In Wellington Rivas’s Crusade consists of two hastily arranged meetings in local Catholic parish Churches.
Image: Katya At St Annes, Newtown
In spite of bitterly cold southerlies, and very short notice, around 250 turn up to the meetings, and by their reactions afterwards appear to enjoy themselves greatly The format of the meetings is obviously well rehearsed. Katya’s companions begin with video and slides showing the miracle of her stigmata and explaining some of the history of related mystical phenomena - bleeding statues, incorruptible Saints, clouds that look like the Virgin Mary etc.
By the time Katya is ready to speak the audience is keyed up to expect a direct link to the almighty, and Katya does not disappoint with a fairly stunning piece of evangelisation calling on her congregation to put their faith to work and get out there and start saving the souls of others.
Image: Katya At St Thomas More Church, Wilton
Later I ask Katya whether the word Crusade is an altogether appropriate term for her mission, given its historical connotations of slaughter of Muslims in the Middle East.
“The Lord asked St Catherine of Sienna to make a crusade of peace,” she replies through Riccardo her interpreter. “When he says Crusade he is talking about a campaign. But if we say campaign people may think it is political, or campaign as in a battle. You have to see this in the context it is in, a Crusade of Love And Mercy. Jesus he is asking for reparation. You see the Pope has said excuse me [sorry] to all society, he was asking for forgiveness. The Crusade of Love and Mercy is another way of making reparation, but this time to God.”
And Katya’s present voyage may soon take her to meet the Pope, who has reportedly read several of her books of messages from Jesus and has liked them. After New Zealand she is heading to Chile, Argentina and then possibly Panama before heading to Europe and an appointment in Rome in late September. Whether an audience with the Pope is on the cards is unclear at present.
“It is up to Jesus,” says Riccardo, “he always makes Katya’s appointments”.
Image: A Bleeding Statue Of Jesus Christ In Cochabamba
“A theologian said this was the fulfillment of the prophecy in St Luke’s Gospel. When on Palm Sunday Jesus told the Pharisees that if he asked his supporters to be silent the rocks and stones would themselves cry out. That is what is now happening.” – Documentary Maker Ron Tesoriero.
So exactly how does a person become “Jesus Christ’s Secretary”, as Christ has called Katya in her writings?
Katya’s story began on September 8th 1993 when she first heard the voice of Mary.
“I was working in my house. I heard a voice. She told me things that I was not aware of. Things that I was afraid of hearing. I did not know what was going on. She told me we will talk more when you will be in the clinic. I was not aware that I had a reason to go to any clinic, because I was very healthy at that time. Then two days later I had to go to the clinic because I was diagnosed with pneumonia.”
In hospital for 18 days the picture became clearer as the people around her started suddenly getting better. “For two months I was being prepared by the Blessed Mother. And then on the 20th November 1993 I received my first message from Jesus.”
“I was in prayer with several persons. He began to talk. He told me how to pray the Our Father. He explained to me how this prayer is very important, and he told me he was speaking to me because he wanted to send messages to all humanity through me.”
Almost immediately Jesus began to dictate messages to Katya. Over the nine years since Katya has received around 6000 pages of messages from Jesus, Mary, God the Father, St Michael and Raphael the archangels and several saints. These have been complied into 13 books for publication, four of which have so far been published in English.
When God the Father spoke to her for the first time Katya did not initially realise who it was as it sounded exactly like Jesus. “He said take your shoes off. Prostrate yourself. Because you are on holy ground in presence of God the Father.”
“Were you frightened?”
“I was yes, afraid because Jesus had not said that to her before. I thought I may have made a mistake, done something wrong,” Katya says.
As it happened she hadn’t done anything wrong, that is just the way God talks – an observation that will not be news to anyone familiar with the old testament.
Initially Katya’s messages came just in the form of voices, but later Jesus, Mary, and even the Archangel Michael all appeared to her bodily.
“The first time I saw his [Jesus’s] face was in Australia. It was 1998. Till that moment I had seen a profile, but he didn’t allow me to see his face. Some images of the sacred heart of Jesus are close to how he is really.
“He has a healthy skin, as if he has taken sun. The eyes are green, clear, almost yellow. His hair is not blonde, more brown. And falls in waves. He is strong. He is a nice man but he is a normal man. Not pretty like an actor. And when he looks at you it brings peace. It makes peace.
“And Mary, what does she look like?” I ask.
“Mary has his eyes. The face is very fine. The chin is very delicate. She looks like a child between 13 and 17 years old. But when she talks it is the wisdom of an older woman. She is very fine, very beautiful. Like Jesus, she is fair. A bit paler than her son. They are both white but as if they take a bit of sun.”
And once, while in a prayer retreat, Katya saw St Michael walk past the window. “He is very tall. Very strong. Blonde. He was wearing something short like a skirt and a bandolier, a belt from his shoulder to his hip. He has a lance in one hand and on the other side a sword. “
“And his wings?”
“They are enormous. Big, very big. They come out from the flesh. They are not on the outside like people think. They are part of his body. And they are not made of feathers either, they look more like a kind of shiny fabric.”
Image: Katya’s Feet Experiencing the Stigmata
Katya’s first experience of the stigmata came not long after her first messages. She says it came without a warning from Jesus, and yes it did hurt. In 1994 while on pilgrimage to the United States she was praying before a crucifix.
“Then I saw light coming out of the crucifix like rays. In that moment I had pains in my hands, feet and chest and side. People who were with me helped me to stand up again. I didn’t know what had happened to me. For the next month I had swollen hands and feet. After that month, for the next month I had pains every Friday. But I didn’t know what it was.
“And then one day some months later I was making reparation before the tabernacle and the Lord said that this is a gift. At that time the signs were invisible, I had the pains but no marks. I asked the Lord please let nobody see it. But the Lord said, I will show it when I consider it necessary.”
Katya last experienced the pains on Good Friday earlier this year.
Concluding the interview I ask Katya, “Do you ever feel that this is a lot for God to expect you to do?”
“No,” she replies. “It is a gift. It is not easy because it brings other things to happen, contradictions, problems, persecutions. Not everything that you have close to God is wonderful. But I want to please God and so I am happy.”
(c) Copyright is not asserted. This article is therefore freely available for republication, reposting, photocopying and distribution. A slightly shorter version of this story appeared in the Listener of September 21st, pictured above.
The English Translation of four of Katya’s books can be found at http://www.greatcrusade.org.
Interested readers can subscribe to receive a daily message from Katya Rivas in My Scoop. As this is posted - in November 2002 - a "Casetta", or small house of prayer has started holding meetings at St Anne's (3rd Sundays, 2pm) and St Thomas More (4th Sundays, 2.30pm) churches on Sunday afternoons.